A WARWICKSHIRE firefighter’s instincts kicked in as he ran towards the scene of the mass shooting in Las Vegas to help those injured in the massacre.
Tony Dumbleton and wife Lucy were on a ‘dream holiday’ to America, and were ending their tour of the country in Las Vegas where they planned to renew their marriage vows.
But their stay quickly turned into a nightmare after gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire at a country music festival on Sunday night, killing 59 people and injuring more than 500, in the deadliest ever gun attack in the US.
After a long day travelling, University Hospital Coventry care assistant Lucy had gone to bed and Tony, who is crew commander for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, went for a walk outside the MGM hotel where they were staying.
He was suddenly confronted by hundreds of people running towards him and quickly discovered they were fleeing the gunman.
The 43 year-old’s firefighter instinct immediately kicked in and he ran towards the gunshots coming from the Mandalay Bay Hotel which was just minutes down the road from the couple’s hotel.
He told the Observer: “People were running past, shouting and screaming there was a gunman. I ran past them to see if there was anything I could do.
“One man I found had been shot in the shoulder. I took him back to the MGM where hotel paramedics had set up a triage area. The paramedics were two young girls and had two first aid kits between them.
“I have first aid training and helped this man and then there was another also who had been shot through the shoulder. There was also another who had been shot straight through his ankle. It was horrendous.”
But the situation was about to get even worse after reports – later revealed to be unfounded – of a second gunman began circulating in the hotel lobby.
Tony, who lives in Exhall on the outskirts of Coventry, told of a ‘stampede’ of people trying to hide as panic spread of another gunman.
He helped move injured people around a corner out of the way of the hotel entrance, even running back to grab the first aid kits.
He continued to treat people and said it took at least an hour for an ambulance to arrive.
The dad-of-three added: “One guy called Chris was deteriorating badly after he had been shot straight though his shoulder, but when the stampede started I lost him and now I don’t know where he went. I feel bad because I promised I’d look after him. Now I’m just keeping an eye on the news praying nothing bad happened to him.”
While Tony was helping downstairs his phone had died, leaving worried Lucy in their room with no idea whether he was safe and fielding panicked calls from the family.
He eventually made it back upstairs a couple of hours after the attack.
It was the couple’s first time in America, enjoying time in San Francisco and LA before heading to Vegas.
It was a second frightening time for the family in a matter of weeks. Their daughter Lorigh was in the Dominican Republic and forced to shelter in a bathroom from Hurricane Irma for two days.
The couple – who have been married for 20 years – called off plans to renew their vows and were looking forward to returning home this evening (Thursday).
Tony said: “We have had enough. Lucy won’t even leave the hotel. This is our first and last time in America.
“I have dealt with a lot of trauma during my time in the fire service but never gunshot wounds. It’s different because in the fire service you can be called to an incident that’s traumatic but then finding yourself in one, it’s surreal.