LAS VEGAS, NV (WIS) - It started with the flip of a coin.
An exhausted Las Vegas couple who decided to put their evening plans on the fortune of Lady Luck ended up right in the middle of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history that ended with at least 59 people dead and more than 500 injured.
Ashtyn Zamora wrote her harrowing account of the night she and her friend, Cody Boyles, literally flipped a coin to decide whether or not they'd go to the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The coin decided they would attend.
The pair then went to the festival to enjoy Jason Aldean. They just didn't realize what would happen next -- the attack on the thousands of spectators by suspected gunman Stephen Paddock, 64. Paddock, according to police, shot the crowd from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
"He got through maybe 2 songs before the gunfire started," Zamora wrote. "I thought it was someone joking with firecrackers in the crowd, until I saw Jason and his crew run off stage. And then the people started dropping around us, like something out of a movie...followed by absolute chaos."
Zamora said she and Boyles then snapped into EMT mode, becoming triage medics in an effort to help those who were seriously wounded or even killed in the massacre.
"But sadly there was only so much we could do, damage control at best," Zamora said. "There is nothing worse than someone running up to you with their loved one and knowing right away there is nothing more you can do for them. One girl was brought to us, in a wheelbarrow, cold to the touch. Her friends had to stand there screaming as we placed a sheet over her body. Gone, just like that. She was maybe 20 years old, and she was just one of many."
Zamora said she and Boyles were placed on lockdown at the nearby Tropicana where the news began to spread of at least two killed in the shooting, but she knew then that the body count would be much higher.
"We both looked at each other, covered in blood, and knew that was wrong," Zamora said. "We had personally handled more than 5 that were gone. And now to know the full extent is just devastating."
Still, despite the horrific scene, Zamora said she was struck by the hundreds of people working to help one another cope and survive amid the chaos.
"This world is a crazy place, but I choose to believe that we are still good people," Zamora said. "The cowardice and coldness of one man does not define a nation. It was the worst night of my life, but I was happy to be there to help. I don't know how we both made it out unharmed, we know we are both so incredibly lucky."