'Hard to go back to normal life': Minnesotans who survived Vegas shooting

People tend to the wounded.
People tend to the wounded outside the Route 91 Harvest Country music festival grounds.
David Becker | Getty Images

Updated 6 p.m. | Posted 4 a.m.

It sounded like fireworks at first. Then the blasts didn't stop.

"We realized at that point that something else was going on and we took off running," recalled Taylor Dumbrovski, a nurse from St. Cloud, Minn., who was near Jason Aldean's stage Sunday night in Las Vegas.

Dumbrovski and her fiancé, brother and sister-in-law took off in a sprint and escaped the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. Clark County authorities say the gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, killed at least 59 people and wounded more than 520 others.

On Tuesday afternoon, one Minnesotan — Steve Berger, a father of three and financial consultant who lived in Shorewood — was confirmed dead from the shooting. Another Minnesotan, Philip Aurich, was hospitalized with critical injuries, according to Concordia Academy-Roseville, from which he graduated in 1999.

The Route 91 Harvest country music festival was attended by 22,000 people, including several Minnesotans, whose night of entertainment ended with a run for their lives.

"A couple of seconds after we started running, it kind of set in: We're being shot at. Just keep going," Dumbrovski said.

She and her companions ran for about 4 miles in a half hour, Dumbrovski said, according to estimates they gleaned from their cellphones.

Shelby Henderson, right, of Mpls., with her sister Sherilyn in Las Vegas.
Shelby Henderson, right, of Minneapolis, with her sister Sherilyn at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Saturday.
Courtesy Shelby Henderson

They went through parking lots and through a motel, where they banged on people's doors, hoping to be let inside someone's room.

Lakeville native Shelby Henderson said she was some 50 feet away from where the first bullets hit. She was in Vegas to celebrate her new job at a law firm with her sister, who was celebrating her birthday.

When Henderson realized she was hearing bullets, she got "tunnel vision" and only focused on getting away. Henderson, a recent University of St. Thomas graduate, eventually sought refuge in a condo a Danish couple had rented.

She keeps replaying gunshot sounds in her head.

"You see this on the news and you empathize with people," she said. "But when you actually go through it, it's hard to put into words."

The death toll in Las Vegas is higher than the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting where 49 people died, the deadliest among several mass shootings last year.

Fewer than 24 hours after the Las Vegas shooting, Dumbrovski didn't feel the same.

"You kinda look at everybody differently and keep an eye out for anything that looks weird," she said. "We felt safe there. We had no reason to believe we were in any danger at all.

"Now, it's just hard to go back to normal life."

MPR News reporter Tim Nelson contributed to this report, as did the Associated Press.