BOTHELL, Wash. -- One year after the Las Vegas shooting massacre, those who were at the concert say their lives have been forever changed. An Edmonds man says the one-year mark stirred a lot of emotion.
There are days in life you never forget, for Steve Dean, October 1, 2017 was supposed to be an unforgettable day of fun at the Route 66 music festival with his girlfriend during a trip to Las Vegas.
“We’re both country music fans,” said Dean.
But the sound of bullets and sight of chaos turned into an unforgettable day for a very different reason.
“It felt like something bit me on my leg, so I reached my hand back and felt the back of my leg and I pulled it out and the whole thing was covered in blood,” said Dean.
The couple managed to run from the venue about half a mile into the parking garage of a casino.
“I told my girlfriend that if we stay here we’re going to die so we ran. I just remember at one point thinking this has to stop and it just would not stop,” said Dean.
He says they stayed there with others for about 20 minutes.
“I could feel the pool of blood around my leg,” said Dean remembering those moments.
Dean was one of 500 people wounded when a gunman shot through the windows of the Mandalay Bay hotel at concert goers, killing 58 people.
“It felt like something bit me. I instantly felt the pain. I got hit with a ricochet and not a direct shot,” said Dean.
Doctors told him bullet fragments missed his femoral artery and he would recover.
"The fragments are still in there,” said Dean.
He says the fragments are in his right hamstring causing tightness in his leg and serving as a reminder that life can change in an instant.
"It’s almost like I have a second birthday today,” said Dean.
He says his new lease on life doesn’t come without struggles.
“A little memory loss, trouble finding words,” he says.
As the one-year mark approached, “I had my first nightmare in months last night and it was a shooting one. Not in Las Vegas but a mass shooting. So, there’s that. It was hard to concentrate today. I was a little irritable,” said Dean.
He says, of course, he’s angry some days, but that he chooses to face his fears and continue living his life and staying active doing what he loves, going to concerts.
"I go to like 20 concerts a year, I still go to them,” said Dean.
He says although he goes to concerts, it’s a challenge now. Large crowds make him anxious and he says he constantly keeps an eye out for exits and places to hide.
October 1 will be a day he’ll never forget.
“It’s something you think about every single day,” said Dean.
But he says the day also reminds him to make all the other 364 days of the year count.
“Be kind to everyone, because you never know what someone is going through,” said Dean.