A concertgoer has told how a brave Marine shielded her from gunfire during the Las Vegas massacre and then refused to leave her side all night.
Renee Cesario, 23, has hailed 21-year-old Brendan Kelly a hero for saving her life and taking care of her throughout the worst shooting in U.S. history when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival that they were both attending.
The pair had only met two hours before Paddock started excessively firing gunshots from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel onto concertgoers below.
She said Kelly tackled her to the ground when gunfire rang out and then ‘pulled my arm up to get me out of the piles of people. We had no idea who was dead or who was alive. We just started to run.’
In a heartfelt Facebook post Cesario described the events that occurred Sunday evening.
‘Brendan and I met only two hours before the Jason Aldean show. I left my friends so we could go up super close to the front for the end of the night. We were just dancing and having fun and then all of the sudden there were loud noises that sounded like fireworks, but no lights were going off.
‘It stopped, and Jason Aldean kept playing but then the shots fired again and he ran off the stage. Before I knew what was going on, Brendan tackled me down to the ground and covered me from the fire.
‘It stopped again and he looked around to see what was happening and then it just kept going. He looked at me and said ‘We have to get out of here. We can’t stay here. It’s not safe.
‘Then he pulled my arm up to get me out of the piles of people. We had no idea who was dead or who was alive. We just started to run. He kept telling me it was going to be okay and to keep running until we were safe.
‘He even let me use his phone to stay in touch with my sister so she knew I was safe, which is the text you’ll see. The whole night he didn’t leave my side,’ she concluded.
Later that evening Renee’s sister, Jenn Cesario, messaged Kelly to thank him for his bravery.
She messaged: ‘Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for taking care of my sister…seriously.’
Kelly replied: ‘Absolutely, that’s what we do, take care of our own and those around us. Glad I could be there for her in that crazy time.’
His valiant efforts clearly haven’t gone unnoticed, however Kelly has not publicly commented on anything yet.
Hi friend Chance Wilk, a fellow Marine, did shed some light on the situation though.
‘He’s not that type of Marine…he doesn’t seek attention, recognition, or fame. He does it because he’s a genuinely good guy and American hero,’ he said, according to CBS.
Jenn recalled her series of events from Sunday night: ‘My sister wasn’t answering her phone,’ she told CBS. ‘I thought she was dead.’
She then received messages from an unknown number, which happened to be from Kelly’s phone.
‘When we finally were able to talk I felt a huge relief that her voice was on the other line, and she wasn’t hurt,’ Jenn said.
‘I still get completely sick not knowing if she was going to stay safe.’
Paddock, 64, smashed out two windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, which is when he started firing shots at the crowd.
The death toll is currently at 58 with over 500 people injured.