Off-duty Texas chief helps save wounded concertgoers in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (KWTX) A Texas police chief who was backstage at a deadly country music concert in Las Vegas, helped rescue at least three people.

(Photos courtesy of Seguin PD and Bruce Ure)

Deputy Chief of the Seguin Police Department, Bruce Ure, was with friends in the VIP section of the Route 91 Harvest Festival listening to headliner Jason Aldean when gunfire broke out.

"It’s like a war movie,” said Ure. “Debris was coming up hitting you in the legs because it was hitting the pavement, and people were screaming and crying and running."

Ure was staying at the Mandalay Bay, almost directly 15 floors below the shooter Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, who opened fire on the concert crowd from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the hotel.

"The gunfire was coming so fast that you couldn't count 'em,” said Ure. “He didn’t just spray, he was there to kill, he wanted to shoot.”

As of Monday evening, 59 people were killed, and 527 were injured.

“It was like shooting human fish in a barrel,” said Ure.

Police said Paddock took his own life before officers could enter his room.

When Paddock first started firing, Ure said he and his friends took cover to determine where the shots were coming from, hoping police would quickly find the killer.

"We decided we would wait it out a little bit and see if law enforcement could get to it because we thought ‘well, it’s an active shooter, they’re gonna be able to get to ‘em,’…it didn't happen, and that's when we decided at that point, ya know, it's time to flee,” said Ure.

“I think that's when he (the shooter) had his most fun, because as we were running, you could feel the asphalt hit ya in the back of the leg.”

Ure, the former Chief of Police in Victoria, has been working in Texas Law Enforcement for 33 years, but said he’s never seen anything so gruesome.

"It was almost like somebody did an air drop of red paint outside, I mean it was like puddles, it was like it rained blood,” he said.

At one point, a bullet nearly misses Ure’s head, but a fragment of the shrapnel sliced his hand.

"That was my wake-up call, that told me 'you stay there, you're gonna definitely die, this guy just came eight inches from your head,'” he said.

His police and EMT training kicked in, helping save people as he and his friends were running away including a man who was bleeding-out from his leg.

Ure said he took the man’s belt, using it as a tourniquet to help stop the bleeding; ironically, he’d just gone through tourniquet training three months before, as his department keeps them on their belts for situations like these.

“I had to hold it (the belt) because I couldn’t tie it,” said Ure. "I guess people saw us working on this guy and thought this must be medical, next thing I know I've got a lady shot in the chest and a lady shot in the back."

Ure flagged down a car and convinced the driver to take all four of them to the hospital.

“It was quite a wild ride through the middle of the Las Vegas strip, going in the opposing lane, running red lights,” he said.

All three victims were convinced they weren’t going to make it, said Ure.

"I remember telling 'em ‘no, enough people died tonight, you're not dyin' on me, don't die,’" he said.

As they were dropped off at the trauma center, Ure said he was told they were going to be fine.

He said he was in the right place, at the right time, with the right training to make a difference.

"On one hand you had the worst, despicable human being, and on the other hand you had people at their very best,” said Ure. “I saw so many heroes that night, I saw people helping people they didn’t even know, and it was a dirty job because there was blood everywhere.”

Ure had to hitchhike from the trauma center to a hotel off the strip overnight, but was back in his room at the Mandalay Bay Monday night.

“They (the hotel) didn’t cause this, this is just an evil man on an evil mission,” he said.

He said the mood in Vegas was ‘subdued’ Monday, but the carnage remained as police were still gathering evidence at the scene that evening.

Ure said he had spoken to the FBI and handed over a video he took of the incident when he thought he wasn't going to survive.

"If I go out, I want people to know exactly what I was doing," he said.

Ure was scheduled to fly back to Texas Tuesday.