In the midst of chaos, people will show you what they're made of, and the Las Vegas massacre is no different. In the days since the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival took place on Sunday evening, additional information has come out about the heroes who sprung into action and stepped up to help those who were injured or in shock. Here are just a few of those individuals:
In an interview with NBC News, Mike Cronk explained the situation firsthand. "The first volley, it sounded like fireworks going off," he said. "I think people thought it was part of the show, but then the second round, my friend standing next to me got shot three times." Cronk continued that he knew, as a hunter, that the shots were coming from a distance, likely the hotel from across the street. So he commanded everyone around him to get down on the ground, instead of running and making themselves more obvious targets.
Cronk, a retired teacher from Alaska, said it stopped after about four minutes. Cronk said he and others around him moved the wounded over the railing and under the stage to safety. Then, he says, no ambulances could enter the "live zone," so they loaded four wounded people into a pickup truck to get to a hospital. They eventually ran into an accessible ambulance, and transferred the wounded.
Cronk said one victim passed away in his arms as he was carrying them to the ambulance. "He was not by himself," Cronk said. "He was always with somebody."
Wife of Sonny Melton, Heather Gulish Melton: "He saved my life. He grabbed me and started running when I felt him get shot in the back." pic.twitter.com/yfdSFdC4rL— Forrest Sanders (@WSMV_Forrest) October 2, 2017
In one of the more tragic cases of heroism, Tennesseean Sonny Melton died while saving his wife Heather's life. In an interview with WSMV, Heather explained the harrowing moment. "He saved my life," she said. "He grabbed me and started running when I felt him get shot in the back. I want everyone to know what a kind-hearted, loving man he was, but at this point, I can barely breathe."
The Meltons were attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their marriage. Sonny, 29, was a registered nurse who worked at the emergency room and ICU at Henry County Medical Center, and graduated from the Union University School of Nursing in 2015. The school issued a statement on Monday addressing Sonny's passing, and honoring his life:
The Union University School of Nursing is in shock today, as we learned of the tragic death of Sonny Melton. Sonny graduated from the School of Nursing in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Our hearts are broken for his family, friends and colleagues. Sonny was energetic, enthusiastic and had a positive attitude that was infectious. He had a love for people, and was a natural choice for class president. You could not help but smile when you saw him, whether that was in class or taking care of patients.
Nursing was his calling, and he served well as the hands and feet of Jesus. We are all better for having known him. Even as we grieve his passing, we rejoice in the fact that in Christ we have victory over death.
Tom McIntosh had just helped his wife and another festivalgoer over a wall to escape the massacre when he was shot in the leg and quickly began to bleed out. "By the time I got over the wall (to safety), my pants were already soaked and my shoe was full of blood,'' McIntosh told the TODAY show. "I wouldn't have made it. I know it wouldn't have stopped."
James Lawson, Army Reserve member, found McIntosh with a belt tied around his leg in a makeshift tourniquet, the work of a stranger who didn't quite know what they were doing. According to McIntosh, Lawson readjusted it and accompanied him to the hospital via a "savior in a pickup truck."
At the end of their bittersweet reunion, Lawson emphasized there were more stories like theirs out there. "There was dozens and dozens of other concertgoers doing the same thing," Lawson said. "They couldn't leave anybody behind, they were running back towards the fire to help more people. There's got to be hundreds of stories like this one."
Jonathan Smith had driven in from Orange County, California to enjoy the country music festival with his brother and other family members. According to the Washington Post, Smith thought the gunshots were fireworks at first. But they continued and Smith remembers seeing performer Jason Aldean run off stage, followed by the lights going out.
In the midst of a stampede, Smith was focused on saving his three nieces between the ages of 17 and 22. But they got separated in the crowd, leading Smith to try to find them and instead coming across a group of stunned people hiding behind a sheriff patrol car. As he relayed to the Post, Smith shouted "active shooter, active shooter, let’s go! We have to run," convincing festivalgoers to get moving.
"I got a few people out of there," Smith said. "You could hear the shots. It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard."
When Smith attempted to help young girls who weren't fully hidden, he was struck in the neck with a bullet. After being hospitalized, Smith discovered he had a fractured collarbone, a cracked rib, and a bruised lung. Doctors have chosen to leave the bullet in Smith's neck, worried moving it might cause more damage.
After being hailed as a hero on social media, Smith says he doesn't "see [himself] that way."
"I would want someone to do the same for me," Smith said. "No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival."
Taylor Winston, a Marine veteran, helped victims in a particularly unique way.
In an interview with CBS This Morning, Winston first described the scene. "People started scattering and screaming and that's when we knew something real was happening," Winston said. "The shots got louder and louder, closer to us and saw people getting hit, it was like we could be hit at any second. Once we got to the fence, I helped throw a bunch of people over, and got myself over. It was a mini war zone but we couldn't fight back."
Since he couldn't fight back, Winston decided to help in the only way he could in that moment. "I saw a field with a bunch of white trucks," Winston said. "I tested my luck to see if any of them had keys in it, first one we tried opening had keys sitting right there. I started looking for people to take to the hospital."
When victims found out what Winston was doing, they began filling into the backseat and bed of the truck. "Once we dropped them off, we were like well, let's go back for round two and go get some more," he said. "I transported probably 20 to 30 people injured to the hospital."
Like the good Samaritan he is, Winston returned the truck's keys to their rightful owner Monday night.