Carlisle mum and daughter watched gun horror unfold from iconic Las Vegas landmark


A Carlisle woman has spoken of the terrifying moment she and her daughter watched armed police respond to the Las Vegas gun massacre.

From the top of the iconic Stratosphere tower, Gillian and Leanne Nicholson had a bird’s-eye view of the emergency response in the minutes after gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on concert-goers.

The pair had flown out for a week-long break on September 25 and were due to return to Cumbria just hours after Paddock killed 59 people and wounded hundreds more.

Gillian, 59, and Leanne, 24, had headed to the Stratosphere tower to take in the view, when events began to unfold.

“When we were at the top [of the Stratosphere] we saw all the blue lights and heard the sirens,” Gillian, who lives in Yewdale, told The Cumberland News.

“We knew something was going on but we weren’t sure what.

“It wasn’t until we got back down we were told there was a live shooter on the strip. It was like a Swat situation.”

Not knowing if their lives were

in danger, the pair found themselves more than three miles away from their hotel, the Signature at MGM Grand, which sits just a few blocks from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where the gunman was based.

They tried to get a bus but it was stopped. Eventually they began walking back despite a police officer warning them: “It’s your life, it’s up to you what you do.”

At one point they were ordered to take refuge inside a hotel for several hours before again braving the strip.

“It was scary,” Gillian admitted. “There were armed police around: you could tell they were looking for someone but the strip was completely deserted. It was still closed but we just kept walking.

“Every now and then we kept passing places where there was wi-fi and Leanne’s phone kept going off with messages from people. Everyone in England was waking up to the news and asking if we were okay.”

After eventually returning to their room, Gillian and Leanne were stunned to discover they could see the window from where Paddock had carried out his massacre.

“We could see the curtains blowing from the window when we went out onto our balcony,” Gillian said.

“I feel so sorry for the people of Las Vegas and what they’re going through.”

Gillian and Leanne have visited Vegas four times but say their latest experience will not stop them going again.

“If Barack Obama had still been in power then the gun laws would’ve changed by now.

“How many shootings happen there is outrageous,” Gillian said.

Friday, October 6, 2017 at 12:50PM
Comment on this article

Generate a new code
Comments not OK? Click here to let us know