News & Opinion | October 3, 2017 11:06 am

Jonathan Smith Was Shot While He Saved Dozens of People During Las Vegas Shooting

The 30-year-old copy machine repairman now has a bullet lodged in his neck.

Jonathan Smith now has a tangible reminder that he survived America’s deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history: a bullet that is lodged in his neck. The 30-year-old copy machine repairman was shot Sunday night trying to help save people when a gunman opened fire on a crowd of thousands at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, reports The Washington Post

Smith was in Vegas celebrating his brother’s 43rd birthday. They had seats near the stage for the Jason Aldean’s primetime performance on Sunday night. Smith and his brother, Louis Rust, originally thought the sound of gunfire was fireworks, but then, Aldean ran off stage, and the lights went out, the Post writes.

Rust realized what was going on first. He told all nine family members who were there to grab hands and run. But there was a stampede as 22,000 people tried to get to safety. Smith focused on getting his nieces to safety, but they were separated in the crowd, the Post reports. When he turned back to look for them, he saw people hiding behind a police car or standing frozen by fear.

He grabbed people and helped them run towards a handicapped parking area that was away from Las Vegas Boulevard. The group crouched behind one of the last rows of cars, the Post writes.

“I got a few people out of there,” Smith said, according to the Post. “You could hear the shots. It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard.”

But he noticed a few girls weren’t full hidden, so he stood up to move closer and tell them to get on the ground. But then, he was shot in the neck.

The doctors are leaving the bullet in place for now because they worry it will do more damage to remove it.

Smith credits an off-duty San Diego police officer with saving his life. The office tried to stop the bleeding, then flagged down a car to get Smith a ride to the hospital, writes the Post. A pickup truck stopped and Smith, who at this point was having trouble breathing, was put in the back with other wounded victims.

Smith later found out that the rest of his family had made it out safely. Smith’s story has made waves on Twitter and Reddit and a photo of Smith has been shared more than 74,000 times, with 177,000 “likes,” according to the Post. There is also a GoFundMe page set up to help pay his medical bills.