Like many people at the concert below, the man in the hotel room directly beneath the Las Vegas shooter’s room initially thought fireworks were going off.
Floyd Conrade of Emporia, Kan., was in Vegas for business. He was getting ready for bed on the 31st floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. By his account, the moments leading up to 10:08 p.m. local time didn’t particularly stand out.
But then the rapid-fire shots sounded — like a finale on the Fourth of July.
Conrade, 50, noticed some debris hit his window as it plummeted toward the ground, where 22,000 people at a country music concert came to realize they were taking fire in a crowded pen with few escape routes.
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At least 59 would lose their lives; more than 500 would be injured.
Conrade moved away from the windows as the bullets rained. He went to his bedroom and always kept something between himself and the glass. He stood and he sat. He used an app on his phone to listen to law enforcement chatter, he told The Star and KWCH 12.
After the gunfire stopped, he decided to poke his head into the hallway, where he saw four or five armed officers, one of whom demanded he return to his room.
He did. He sat and waited. Given the darkness and his high vantage point, he couldn’t make out details on the ground, the few times he moved toward the window.
Most of the time he stayed away from the window.
He heard officers over the radio announce the gunman’s room number. It was one digit off from his: 31-134 and adjoining room 135. Stephen Paddock, the shooter, was in 32-134 and adjoining room 135.
That’s when he knew the gunfire he’d heard had been coming from directly above.
Conrade felt safe through it all because of the concrete between him and a mass murderer.
The explosion above that signified officers breaching Paddock’s room startled Conrade more than the gunfire did.
The gunfire was surprisingly quiet from within his room. The footsteps of investigators combing the room seemed loud. Glass crunched beneath their feet. The footfalls padded across his ceiling through the night. Conrade could tell their probe was intent, thorough.
He didn’t sleep much that night. By 1:30 a.m. things seemed to have wound down. At about 4 a.m., a SWAT team came through his room.
When daybreak hit, and he could see the debris and the first responders and what he thought were body bags on the ground, the havoc from the night before took on a surreal quality.
Days have passed, and he’s still in that room. Business calls. He’ll fly home Friday, back to his large family, including six children.
He never considered trying to change rooms. He considers the shooting a freak event, something that could happen anywhere. And there was no damage to his room, so why leave it?
Conrade, who said he’s a supporter of the Second Amendment, grew up hunting. He was taught to respect the rifles and shotguns he handled as a child.
“But this guy was dealing with something way more above that.”
A gunman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino opened fire while country music star Jason Aldean was performing Sunday night a the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Officials report 59 people, including two off-duty police officers, are dead and AP via Storyful