Mitchell County woman witnesses deadly Las Vegas Strip shooting

Connie McKinney, of Mitchell County, witnessed the deadly Las Vegas Strip shooting. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

A Mitchell County woman witnessed the deadly Las Vegas Strip shooting.

Connie McKinney was back in Western North Carolina and opened up about the traumatic scene she saw unfold before her eyes.

"I flew out from Asheville Thursday morning," McKinney said.

McKinney, from Spruce Pine, was celebrating her niece's 30th birthday in Las Vegas.

"We were staying at the Tropicana hotel, which is across from the Mandalay Bay hotel and the concert venue — the Route 91 Festival," McKinney said.

She took pictures from the night before the deadly shooting with the festival in the foreground and Mandalay Bay in the background. She took a picture at a family dinner the next night, about 30 minutes before the shooting.

"I was actually in my room listening to Jason Aldean, because he's my favorite country singer, and texting with my sister and then we began to hear what sounds like fireworks," McKinney said.

McKinney looked up at the sky over the festival with no fireworks — just chaos.

"You can tell that Jason Aldean sees something going on, because, well, the sound was deafening, and I guess I start seeing people running. The stage goes off. He quits singing in the middle of the song and the stage lights go off and then people just start running and screaming and falling," McKinney said.

McKinney soon got a call from her sister.

"She's like 'what's going on?' and I said 'I don't know. It's bad,'" McKinney said.

McKinney started hearing reports about multiple shooters in her hotel.

"I cut the lights off and just prayed," McKinney said.

She is back in the mountains and praying for the victims.

"I'm heartbroken for them, and, you know, I pray for them. I send my love and thoughts and prayers," McKinney said.

Her outlook on life was changed forever.

"It puts things in perspective, because you can't sweat the small stuff, because you just got to appreciate life, because you don't know, it could change with every breath," McKinney said.

McKinney said she also wants to thank the first responders from that night after witnessing their quick action.

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