Route 91 Worker Refused to Leave Victim’s Body Until Girlfriend Could Reach Him
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News broke late Sunday (Oct. 1) of what has become the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, and in the days following Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, we’ve learned stories of survival and heroism.
At least 59 people were killed and 500 more injured when a gunman shot down on a crowd of country music fans from a 32nd floor Mandalay Bay hotel room. Heather Gooze was at the festival, working as a bartender. But her role quickly changed from serving drinks to aiding others, including a shooting victim named Jordan McIldoon.
“We were having a blast,” Gooze recounts to People. “But then all of a sudden there were people running through the bar and we couldn’t understand why. Everyone was dancing and [Jason Aldean] kept on singing. Then there were thousands of people running through trying to break the gate down behind my bar. They were literally climbing on top of each other.”
Instead of running for her safety as people scrambled to flee the festival grounds, Gooze stayed in hopes of helping as many people as she could. She says there were many injured who couldn’t get out, and she saw people dead all around her. Three men were carrying a young man who had been shot on a ladder, and she went over to hold his hand. No one knew his name, so when his phone rang, she answered, learning that his name was Jordan McIldoon and that he was from British Columbia.
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“We asked him to help us find names and phone numbers for his family,” she recalls. “Jordan’s phone was locked but Facebook messages kept on coming up so I went on Facebook to try and find him.”
Then, his mother called, and Gooze picked up. She learned that McIldoon was attending the festival with his girlfriend, Amber. As Gooze and another man tried to track Amber down, McIldoon died in her arms. When they reach Amber by phone, she was in lockdown at the Tropicana hotel, so Gooze had to deliver the terrible news that he had died.
“I said, ‘I don’t want to be the one to tell you this but he didn’t make it,’” she recounts. “I wouldn’t leave him or go anywhere until I could make sure that they knew where he was and what was going on. I’m not a brave or courageous person but something inside of me just wouldn’t let me leave the venue.”
Gooze stayed with the man’s body for more than four hours.
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See Photos From the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting