Photo By David Becker : https://www.davidbeckerphotography.com/las-vegas-shooting
One of the most disturbing photos from the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting was of a man who seemed to be protecting a woman who was lying on the ground. The woman may or may not have been shot. It wasn’t clear at first who the two people were. “I don’t know if she was hurt, but it was clear that he was protecting her with his body,” David Becker, a photographer, told Time. Soon after the shooting, Becker’s photos were shared through Getty Images. On Sunday, country music fans at a festival on the Las Vegas Strip were shot while they were there, killing more than 50 people in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
When the shooting started late Sunday night, Getty Images photographer David Becker was at the music festival. His pictures from the scene show how crazy and bloody things were after the accident.
“People were running away and getting scared,” he said. “There wasn’t a lot of gunfire. It would stop, start again, stop again, and start again. People could be heard shouting at them to turn off the lights and be quiet.
“People were trembling and afraid for their lives. A woman fell right in front of me, and a man covered her with his body before they both got up and ran away. A man in a wheelchair was helped to an exit. I tried to take pictures of anything that moved and had good light. That was very important. There wasn’t much light, and it was so dark. It was very hard to figure out what was going on.”
Becker didn’t know that the popping sounds were coming from a gun for a while. At first, he thought they were fireworks or broken speakers at the Jason Aldean concert. “Then I started looking at my photos, and I couldn’t believe what I saw,” he said. “It was so dark outside that I couldn’t tell what was happening. I just saw a lot of people lying on the ground. I thought they were playing possum, but then I saw people covered in blood and thought, “This is real.” When I saw the picture of the woman lying on the ground covered in blood, I knew what I was going through was serious and that people were dying.
Here is the whole thing that Becker told CBS News:
After taking pictures of the last act at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, I returned to the media tent to start filing my pictures. After 5–10 minutes, I heard loud popping sounds, so I went outside to see what was happening. A security guard told me it was just “fire crackers,” so I went back to work. When I heard the popping sounds for the Second Time, someone told me, “It was just speakers or sound equipment,” so I went back into the media tent and kept working. The sounds started up again when people started to run away.
When the crowd started to leave, I went outside and saw many people panicking and running for the exit that was right by the media tent. I went back outside, got my camera, and found a spot where I could see what was going on but wouldn’t get in people’s way. I stood at a table and started taking pictures, still thinking that this wasn’t real and that the speakers were popping. I couldn’t see what was happening because it was so dark, but I could hear people crying, talking on cell phones, and ducking for cover. As the crowd thinned out, I was able to get closer to see what was going on and take more pictures. I kept thinking, “It’s just the speakers, nothing is going on.”
People were helping each other everywhere, and everyone was running for cover. People were running away and getting scared. The gunfire was random; it would stop, start again, stop again, and start again. People could be heard shouting at them to turn off the lights and be quiet. People were hiding because they were afraid for their lives. A woman fell right in front of me, and a man covered her with his body before they both got up and ran away. A man in a wheelchair was helped to an exit. I tried to take pictures of anything that moved and had good light. That was very important because it was so dark and there wasn’t much light that it was hard to see what was going on. At this point, I still thought it was just a speaker popping, so I tried to get a sense of how people felt and how panicked they were.
I went back to the media tent and called my colleague to see if he knew what was going on. I still didn’t know what was going on, so he told me that the police had set up a perimeter called a “Code Red.” Then I looked at my photos, and what I saw just blew my mind. It had been so dark outside that I couldn’t see any details. I saw many people lying on the ground and thought they were playing possum, but now I could see people covered in blood and thought, This is real. When I saw the picture of the woman lying on the ground covered in blood, I realized what I was going through was serious and that people were dying.
I kept editing and filing my photos, even though the power was out and I had to use my laptop for light. After 5–10 minutes, everyone was told to leave, leading me to my car. I worked the rest of the night and into the morning to get pictures of the police coming in and the injured people helping each other on the streets.
Conclusion: the story narrated by the famous photographer was horrific. But obviously, this will haunt us all forever. When I think about what I saw, it’s hard to understand. I was doing my job, which I think is important, to record what was going on. Images like these tell a story, make people think twice before doing something similar, and cause governments to change their policies to stop horrible things like this from happening again. Since I’ve been doing this job for a long time, it comes naturally to me to take a picture first and then ask questions. It might not make sense just to walk out and take pictures of people running for cover, but a photojournalist does this all the time.
From Lorenzo Sandoval, Photographer and Martial Arts instructor
” Hey everyone,
I want to reach and and say I was there during the funerals and some of the families that suffered through this situation. I own a Karate school called Ageless Martial Arts, in Las Vegas and at the time when it happened I just got done teaching my classes. I could not believe the news and I immediately started calling family members and students worried sick and I was extremely in shock that it happened in my city. Worried and shocked I called my mother to see if she was ok sine she was a nurse who always traveled around the city visiting patients. She has been here in Las Vegas as a nurse for almost 40 years. This town has been good to both of us. I just wanted to say I know its been a few years, but nothing I can say or do can ever replace the pain these families are going through and are still reminded of the tragic sickening things that man did. I honestly hope that man rots in hell. Stephen Paddock is a deranged and I am happy the officers suppressed fire so he could not do anymore damage.
Every October 1st, we are reminded every year of what happened. Which is why as a born and raised Las Vegas we must stay #Vegasstrong for the families that suffered. I have empathy and nothing but love to those families effected. Any families effected are always welcomed for a free photoshoot or a free martial arts lesson because I really don’t know what else to do to help. I hope one day these families find peace and I am very sorry this happened. ”
With Love and sympathy,
-Sensei Lorenzo Sandoval