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Utah Mom Recounts Daughter's Harrowing Night At Las Vegas Concert

James Marvin Phelps / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Sue Reynolds was asleep at her home in La Verkin, Utah — a small town about two hours from Las Vegas — when she received one of the worst calls of her life.

Her 33-year-old daughter, Carisa, and another friend were trapped at the Route 91 Harvest Festival as one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history was unfolding. Carisa and her friend survived, though some people standing near them didn’t.

Below are excerpts of Reynolds describing her daughter's experience. 


Reynolds: I was sound asleep, and my phone usually doesn't ring after 10 o'clock because I have it turned off, but it rang. It was her, and I thought it was weird she's calling me this late. And all I could hear was people screaming in the background; I could hear the gunfire ... just constantly. 

And she's like, 'Mom, I love you, I love you, I love you.' And I'm like 'What's going on? What's going on?' She said, 'They're killing everybody, they're killing them. I'm going to get killed. I'm going to die.'

I just said 'What is going on what's going on?' And she just said 'I love you' and the phone went dead. 

How did she eventually get out?

She said some old English guy kept walking her through it - told her to keep her head down and just follow her and keep going. She said she was throwing up.

He told her 'you got to keep moving we've got to keep moving.' That's when they went into some little room. ...She goes 'We first thought it was fireworks  and everyone was having fun. And then the girl next to me was shot in the back. ...And the guy next to me was killed.' ...

She hasn't slept. She just said, 'I can't sleep.' I just keep seeing flashbacks that keeps him blood everywhere gunfire everywhere.

How do you make sense of something like this — can you make sense of this?

No. My God. I can't. I can't fathom how a person can do this to other people.

So you'll see your daughter again today?

Reynolds: Yes. 

And what are you going to do when you see her?

Reynolds: Oh, my God. Just hug her hold her. I'm grateful. I'm so grateful she was spared. 



Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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