The Pepper Bough

Death from above: America reels after 58 massacred at music festival in Las Vegas

Illustration by staff cartoonist Armand Trujillo

Illustration by staff cartoonist Armand Trujillo

Illustration by staff cartoonist Armand Trujillo

Kimberly Castellanos, Reporter

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Colton High Pepper Bough former editor in chief was in the crowd, and a Grand Terrace mother of 3 was killed in the attack.


The Las Vegas shooting was a tragic event that affected us all. We lost family members, friends, coworkers, and more. This shooting took 58 people away from us and injured at least 500  people; this event is now currently the largest modern U.S. history massacre with Pulse Night Club, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook following up with high death tolls.

It was at 10:05 pm when the first shots were fired towards the crowd that night and in that crowd there was one of our own Colton High School Alumni and former Pepperbough editor in chief, Elysa Arroyo. Here is what she had to say in a Facebook post:

“We were in the middle of the crowd being shot at last night, but were able to run out a gate not far away and hide in a bathroom at a nearby hotel. They eventually moved us to a room with about 15 other people to wait out the lockdown. We got home around 7:00 this morning.

Every news outlet I see reports the fatalities, constantly streams footage of the massacre (which just freaks me out all over again), or talks about the shooter, but I want to talk about some amazing things that I somehow had the presence of mind to notice while we were literally running for our lives.

I can’t speak for what happened elsewhere in the venue, but where we were there was no pushing, shoving, or trampling. Strangers were helping strangers climb walls and fences, throwing wounded over their shoulders and running with them, helping small children get through the crowd unharmed. There was sheer panic and pandemonium everywhere, but there was also strength, bravery, and outright heroism all around us.

As we ran away from the sound of gunfire, which seemed to come from every direction, heavily armed police officers and other first responders ran TOWARD the shots and yelled for us to keep running. They were focused and fast, and never hesitated to get between us and the bullets. So many of us owe those courageous men and women our lives.

We took shelter at the Desert Rose Hotel, and the staff on duty there did everything could to help us and keep us safe, including moving us and others to an empty unit in an attempt to put more doors and walls between us and whatever or whomever might be out there. They helped get a woman who had been shot in the back into an ambulance as quickly and discreetly as possible despite not knowing yet what might be outside the building.

We ran from a bullet barrage by the dregs of humanity, and we ran surrounded by a crowd of some of humanity’s absolute finest. I am heartbroken for those who lost their lives in this horrific event and worried for those still wounded, and still shaken beyond belief, but I have not lost my faith in humanity. Last night showed me how much good there still is in people. And that for every deranged lunatic hellbent on destruction, there are thousands who, even in the face of death and chaos, choose kindness, compassion, and love for their fellow man. It’s this thought in which I take solace. Mr. Rogers taught us that, when things get scary, you should “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. And there were so many more helpers than I could have counted.”

John Smith was a hero for the night. Smith was credited with saving 30 people at the music festival and was shot in the neck and arm. He helped who he could get to safety and got himself to safety even with the injuries he got along the night but was treated at the Sunrise Hospital Medical Center where they found out he might end up living with the bullet inside him for the rest of his life. Many acts like this were told of people helping out but some were not as fortunate as others.

Dana Gardner was one of the less fortunate victims of that tragic night. Dana was a longtime employee at the San Bernardino County Clerk’s office. She had gone to the music festival with her daughter that weekend and her daughter made it out unharmed. Her family could not believe that Dana was not going back home with them back in Grand Terrace. As Dana’s sisters were wiping tears from their cheeks they said, “ She’s a wonderful woman. Most generous person I’ve ever met. Most wonderful mother, grandmother, sister.” We are all mourning the many losses of that night but as a community we are doing anything and everything we can to those that are in need at this.

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Death from above: America reels after 58 massacred at music festival in Las Vegas