BUTLER, Pa. (KDKA) — Among the local people in Las Vegas when the mass shooting happened was the warden of the Butler County Prison.
Joe DeMore wasn’t at the concert. He says he’s grateful for that and his heart goes out to the people who were there.
Instead, he was a few casinos away at Planet Hollywood when people started running in, and everyone feared a shooter was chasing them.
“When 20 or 30 people start running in there, the worst case scenario goes off in your head,” said DeMore.
DeMore is in Vegas with his brother and some friends while his wife and kids are back home in our area.
He says people in the casino began scattering when people came running in.
“We assumed they were being chased by someone shooting, so we ran,” DeMore said.
Security guards told them not to go outside, so DeMore and a friend ran into a P.F. Chang’s.
“We actually kind of scurried through the kitchen area,” said DeMore. “They took us through this backroom entrance down into a stairwell, and we were stuck down there. I’d say 30 or 40 people.”
There they stayed for what he calls 15 minutes of “helplessness,” unsure if whatever happened outside had transpired into a gunman on the loose inside.
“We were sandwiched in there really tight, and there was people hugging each other with their wives and girlfriends and then husbands. People were crying and screaming,” said DeMore.
He began texting his wife, not wanting to actually call and wake her if she was asleep. He tried to keep others calm, but admits emotions got to him.
“I’m thinking, ‘Am I ever going to get back home to see my wife and daughters again?’ It just really hits,” he said.
Finally, they got the all clear and later learned the details of the horror that unfolded just down the street.
“The climate of the world and U.S. really scares me,” said DeMore. “You can’t even go somewhere to enjoy some time on vacation without fear of dying.”