The urge to leave just a few minutes early may have saved the life of off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Detective Josh Dubin.
The former Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station spokesman was standing near the main stage of the Route 91 Harvest festival during country music performer Jason Aldean’s set.
“It was super awesome,” Dubin said of the three-day country music event. “We met people from Ireland and everyone was having a great time.”
An impulse to find a table at his next destination ahead of the inevitable rush of people exiting the venue pushed the detective to leave the Las Vegas Village.
Pushing past the usual hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip, Dubin secured a few seats for his coworkers who had not left the concert.
At about 10:15 p.m., Dubin’s phone rang repeatedly as several text messages and phone calls pierced an eerie silence.
Messages inquiring about Dubin’s condition surged his smartphone. Initially, the detective was puzzled – that is, until dozens of black-and-white and unmarked police vehicles screeched into the area.
At that point, Dubin knew something was awry.
“People were screaming, people were running,” he said.
“It was pandemonium.”
Dubin left the area and sought shelter inside the Monte Carlo casino.
“All the hotels were on lockdown with private security guards locking doors and showing high visibility presence,” Dubin said.
The eeriness compounded as Dubin strolled along the empty casino floors.
“The blackjack tables were fairly empty,” he said. “There were people sleeping on the floor because they couldn’t get back to their hotels.”
Dubin remained at the Monte Carlo until the lockdown was lifted.
As the off-duty detective took in news reports and social media posts made by other concertgoers, Dubin came to a stark conclusion – the shots fired into the crowed hit the spot he was standing in a mere two hours prior.
But Dubin is still processing the massacre that had unfolded in front of him. As he often did when he was at the helm of Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station’s communications, Dubin took to social media to thank those who came the aid of the bullet-striken.
“As an off duty patron & concert goer at #RT91Harvest in Vegas my prayers go out to everyone involved. Thank U to the Vegas first responders!” he posted to Twitter.
“I tip my hat to all of them because it’s tough and not just because putting yourself in a dangerous situation,” Dubin said.
“There’s a lot of sorrow.”
For Dubin, what outshone the muzzle flashes emitted four football fields away from the concert venue, was the outpouring of support from first responders and strangers, all willing to sacrifice their own lives to rescue those trapped.
“That’s just the love of helping people. It was pretty incredible,” Dubin said.