Tragedies like the Las Vegas shooting are usually remembered for the pain and sadness they cause, but one Castaic native showed there can be true heroism in the face of darkness.
Staff Sgt. Alyson Venegas is a member of the Air Force Medical Service who attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival in October. As Stephen Paddock fired into the crowd, Venegas got others to safety and gave life-saving care to dozens of people, according to the Air Force Medical Services media.
“I knew instantly what it was, and that we just needed to get out of there,” Venegas told The Signal on Friday. “ We just dropped to the floor, but we knew we could be trampled — so we headed out behind us and jumped over a fence.”
It was behind the fence that Venegas and her roommate, Senior Airman Linda Wilson, had instincts take over.
“It wasn’t even a thought. We saw this guy being carried out with a big wound on his side, we just helped him.” she said. “I held pressure on his wound until others could come… There were people who were shot, people who were down. Training kicked in and took over.”
Venegas explained that Wilson and her helped for 30-45 minutes.
“We ended up at a more essential area, there were ambulances there and set up triages.” Venegas explained. “Towards the end there, Linda and I got seperated. She jumped into the back of the car with a man who was unconscious. I was coordinating and didn’t leave until everyone else did.”
That night 58 people were kill and 450 were injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting in American history. The perpetrator of the attack would take his own life before law enforcement could reach him, leaving his reasons for shooting unknown.
“I was in shock. We thought we were safe,” she said reflecting on the night. “It all went by so quickly — but it didn’t.”
Since that night, Venegas and Wilson, as well as Senior Airman Logan Bennett, have been recognized by the Air Force for their bravery and heroism, according to an article from the Air Force Medal Service.
“We were put up for medals, our leadership has been so supportive,” Venegas said. “ I know we did a lot looking back but it’s what any decent person would have done.”