ANCHORAGE (KTUU) It was six friends on an annual trip and became a night they'll never forget. October 1, 2018 marks the one year anniversary of the Las Vegas mass shooting where 58 lives were taken. It was a tragedy that hit home and Alaska survivor, Shani Vannoy recounts the chaos of that night and how she made it out alive.
Vannoy and her friends were in Las Vegas for their annual "girl's trip." Despite a hurt foot and being on crutches, Vannoy remembered the concert venue being very welcoming.
"It was just a very open feel, I mean there was vendors, there was food trucks, it was just a very good vibe," she said.
She and her friends enjoyed two days of food, fun and music performed by different country artists, but the grand finale was night 3 and Jason Aldean was set to take the stage, but during Aldean's third song, a night of fun turned to fear.
"I stop for a second and I remember I was like looking left and looking right and all of a sudden II heard the first shot and then the shots just started and then I knew, this isn't fireworks and you can hear people in the crowd screaming you know there's a gun."
Vannoy said that's when panic set in. She hobbled over to a fence and remembers crouching down next to a guy she'd never met. He held his hand on the back of her neck.
"I'm screaming because people are laying on top of me, they were laying on my foot that was wrapped and i didn't know what was going to happen. I just remember praying, praying to god to take care of my babies and take care of my husband and for everything to be okay."
She could hear the bullets hitting the stage and then, the gunfire stopped.
"I remember her saying as soon as you hear the shots stop, get up and run."
Separated from her friends, Vannoy was the first one back to the group's rented house, but eventually all 6 reunited.
"We just didn't understand why, why would someone do this."
Finally back home in Alaska, Vannoy faced a new normal.
"I definitely have some signs of PTSD and things are just a little bit different and the way I take on projects or go into new buildings. I haven't been to a concert yet."
Vannoy wants to go back to seek closure, but she's not sure when. Over the past year, she's learned to find peace in her struggle to make sense of the deadly mass shooting.
"It's just one of those things that for some odd reason it was supposed to happen in our lives and it's made us stronger since then," Vannoy said.