LAS VEGAS (CBSMiami) — Off-duty Clark County firefighter Travis Haldeman was in the crowd with his wife at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival when gunfire stopped the music Sunday night. He told her to run and rushed to a man shot in the leg.
“I had taken my belt off, wrapped it around his leg and made a quick tourniquet around it, threw him on my back, and started running with him on my back towards the medical tent,” Haldeman told CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz.
He said if he was going to get shot, there was nothing he could do about it. “What I know I can do is help a lot of people,” Haldeman said.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer Bert Hughes was off the clock and at home getting ready for bed when he started getting texts on his phone.
“The kids were sleeping. My wife was up. She didn’t want me to go, but she understood that I needed to go, and gave her a kiss and headed out the door,” Hughes said.
“What did you say to her?” Diaz asked.
“See you in the morning,” Hughes said.
Fire Capt. Joe Geeb was at the scene in minutes.
“We’ve been put through this type of training that allowed us to just instinctually act,” Geeb said.
Those instincts also kept Haldeman going. He helped at least half a dozen victims to safety, including Rylie Golgart who was shot in the back and losing feeling in her legs. Haldeman said he stayed and rode with her to the hospital.
“I got home around 3:30 I’d say in the morning and changed my clothes. They were covered in other peoples’ blood, gave my wife a big hug and a kiss,” Haldeman said.
“She must have been happy to see you,” Diaz said.
“Yeah, yeah. It’s a hug and a kiss I’ll never forget,” Haldeman said, choking up.
He’s visited Golgart in the hospital twice.
“She stood for the first time,” Haldeman said. “It’s a feeling, it’s hard to describe. It’s the same way as when your kids stand for the first time or take their first steps, you know?”
Asked how he’s different now than before the mass shooting, Geeb paused.
“See, now you’re going to make me cry,” Geeb said. “I think about my guys a lot more. You see how they’re coping with it in their own families. And it hurts. You know?”
“You guys are a family and this has just tightened those bonds,” Diaz noted.
“100 percent,” Geeb said.
“There was one bad person that showed up to that concert that night, and thousands that have showed up since to help out whether it’s their own blood, their own money,” Haldeman said. “That is Las Vegas.”
Five years ago, Las Vegas started special interagency training between police and fire departments to help respond together and faster to incidents like mass shootings. That training likely saved lives Sunday night and is being used as a model in other cities.