Local News


Survivor writes letter describing escape from Las Vegas shooting

Posted at 8:30 PM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-05 19:55:53-04

It’s a letter of survival. Addressed to no one and everyone at the same time.
Each line is carefully crafted, describing each detail of the night Ryan Boling, 34, thought would be his final moments after the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.
13 Action News reached out to Boling. He said his letter speaks the words that he cannot at the moment.

I just want to say thank you to everyone for the messages and kind words I really do appreciate you all. I am sorry I haven't spoke a lot about this to anyone yet but I am still just in shock and we all grieve in our own ways. I have seen a lot of friends share their personal story from the route 91 massacre maybe its a way of healing or a way to give others a view into what we went through. If you have some time my story is as follows...

My group and I had some of the best 3 days we have had in Vegas in a long time. On night 3 we were standing to the center and slightly right hand side of the stage about 30 feet from the front of the stage. Jason Aldean had just finished his 5th song "ask any old barstool" when we heard what sounded like 3 pops or firecrackers going off. I looked at my friend Joel and his wife Tracy and said who brings fireworks to a concert? She said I think thats gunshots. I was like no, no way thats gunshots. I turned back toward the stage and Jason started his next song. Then another round of firecrackers this time 5. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! and we looked at each other again like wtf is going on? I thought perhaps its the microphone popping or a sound issue. Then a much louder constant bang of gun shots were fired and Jason Aldean ran off stage. My stomach dropped as swarms of people were running and people started falling around us. I bent down, turned, and ran with my hands covering my head as to protect it just in case a bullet happened to hit me. I assumed there were multiple gunmen inside just spraying the crowd with bullets.

I turned and ran directly behind where I was standing down a small alley between the set up Malibu rum house and the vip bathrooms. People were shoving me from behind and a wave of us reached the back fence. As we reached the fence people were throwing people over an old lady was trampled and pinned against the fence and crying for help i grabbed her arm and said u have to get up! She said she cant move. I pulled her up to her feet. At the same time a guy was yelling at me from the other side of the fence to help his gf get over begging me please to lift her up. Boom! boom! boom! the vip porto potties that were behind us started getting hit with bullets and we all dropped to the ground. When the shooting stopped for a second a group of people pushed down the fence. I grabbed the old lady and took her with me out into the street and she sat on the curb with her head in her hands and she wouldn't move. I said you have to move the gunmen will follow the crowd she just kept crying I cant, I cant.

Out in the streets it was complete chaos. People covered in blood, a woman shot in the face was staggering around as her friends were screaming for help. Others laid motionless on the ground with there loved ones laying over them. People were performing CPR in the street as cars swerved around them. People were hanging on cars going by a few cars appeared to hit people who ran out into traffic. I started yelling get out of the middle of the street and get to cover. The parking lot behind the venue had a fence up and people ran through it with their trucks into the same street and people started loading the wounded into their vehicles. Lifeless bodies and some wounded were being put into trucks and taking off down the street as fast as they can. The gun shots were still going and to me seemed to get louder. I called my mom as I was running across the street and she said "hey are u calling because you won big?" I said a shooter has opened fire in the concert, I am running out out of concert into the street I just wanted to let you know In case I don't make it.
The shots kept going, I ran through another dirt parking lot ducking with every loud bang. A large group of us reached a dead end about a quarter mile from the venue where the airport and a few warehouses were. The fences were about 10ft high covered in barbwire with the McCarren airport tarmac on the other side. A few guys started climbing the fence and going over the barbwire. Another group of guys kicked through the glass windows of the warehouses and hundreds of people started pouring into the buildings but at a slow pace as not to get cut by the glass from the windows. A f350 truck trapped in the dead end couldn't move bc of all the people and he was trying to pull the airport fencing down with a tow rope but the rope snapped. People were yelling the shooters are coming and we were trapped. My mom called me again and I said I am stuck in a dead end with about a thousand people. Most are bleeding and screaming and we have no idea where the shooters are. I told her if I am going to die it will not be as a sitting duck in a corner and she was saying no stay there the shooter is in mandalay bay shooting from the roof and the news is saying to stay put. I didn't listen, I headed back toward the concert venue and the shots had all stopped it was about 30 minutes from when they had begun. When I got back to the same street I had ran across earlier people were laying all over cops were now lined up in formation with riffles. A few ambulances were now on the street. I tried to flag down a few cars that were left leaving the dirt parking lot for a ride out of the area but nobody stopped.

I ran passed the venue and reached the Mc'donalds on Las Vegas blvd across from Mandalay bay. I saw a group of people trying to get inside. As I ran up to the door the employees were inside holding the doors closed and yelling at people to leave the front of the store. We ran across to the shell gas station next store. The 2 workers had the doors locked as well and would not open them. A large group of us continued south down las Vegas blvd trying to get as far away from Mandalay bay as possible. Helicopters were circling over head, cop cars constantly pouring into the location it was a war zone. As we passed the next main road, Russel road, the swat teams were setting up in a line and the streets were blocked off by cop cars taking cover behind their cars. They asked if everyone was ok, if anyone had been shot, and told us that we all need to keep moving south.
As we reached the next light there were 20 ambulances or so blocking the streets and wrapping people up with cuts and gunshot wounds who were laying on the ground. There was only one building left on Las Vegas blvd that we could see and it was called Maverick Helicopters. As we walked up to the building there was a limo outside I ran to it and said hey man can we pile in here and can you take us out of this area. The guy inside the limo rolled his window down and said sorry im not for hire. I was pissed, then at the same time a lady wearing a red shirt opened up the doors to the large Maverick helicopter facility and said everyone get in here quick. About 150 of us ran inside and they locked the doors. I immediately ran to the bathroom and took off my clothes and started to check if I was hit anywhere. I went back into the lobby and sat with a group of people 3 women mid twenties, one of their boyfriends, and their mom. They were also from Anaheim hills as well and they couldn't account for 2 girls that were with them. We later found out the other 2 they were with had been shot as the paramedic called them from the ambulance to let them know where they were taking their friends. There was a lot of crying. It was a miracle I got a hold of all of our friends and each one was in a safe location taking cover in various locations around the venue. I then found out that one of our friends and a husband to one of my in laws who had been standing with us all night had been shot in the leg. That was the worst feeling it could have been any of us.
It had now been about an hour and a half since the shooting, then all of a sudden everyone got up and started running from the lobby to the back of the building we were in. We all looked at each other and our hearts dropped, I thought what am I gonna do if a gunman gets inside here. It Turned out that the workers wanted to move everyone out of the lobby as fast as possible and into the back locker rooms so nobody would walk by and see us all hiding inside in case there were more gunmen outside. We heard everything from 5 gunmen shooting out of windows at different hotels to bomb threats and when I heard it was just one guy at the end I couldn't believe it.

Around 2:30 am the workers at Maverick gave us 3 good options: to go to unlv where they were taking everyone as a gathering point, go to the mall down the street out of the barricade zone to get an uber ride, or to remain there until the hotels re-opened. I chose the uber route and was able to uber back to the rio hotel around 3:30. When I arrived i saw my friends troy and Lyndsey waiting for me at the door we all hugged and went up to the room. We stayed up and waited for Ryan and Alex Dillon to get there as they were staying in Mandalay Bay and could not go back there for at least 24hrs they were told. Joel and tray had family pick them up and were safe.

It is now Tuesday, the shock of the situation is still very real and I haven't slept since. I haven't removed my festival wristband and not sure when I will. The scenes, the faces, the noise from the shots are very real. Every news channel is playing a different video and its just like reliving it over and over again. As time passes I know all things will heal. I pray for those who didn't make it out alive and for those wounded. I ask myself why them? Did bullets just miss us all by chance? Did we move at just the right time but causing someone else to get hit? Is there more I could have done? Just questions that haunt the mind after this situation. I am thankful for everyone of you friends, family, first responders, even strangers that offer such kind words during such a bad time. #prayforvegas #route91harvest

Thank you and God bless.
Ryan Boling.