Hi, My name is Erica Keuter.
I am a mother of two strong-willed girls, ages five and nine, a wife to my forever hero, a daughter to two amazing and supportive parents, and a resident of Rhode Island.
On October 1, 2017, I was a victim of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
I was at Route 91 country music festival when the shooter unleashed gunfire onto the crowd, murdering 58 people and injuring over 700 people, including our dear friend Monico. What I saw that night I can never unsee, what I heard that night I can never unhear, and what I smelled that night I can never unsmell.
There were nine of us who stayed for the last act of the festival, Jason Aldean.
We were positioned in the densest area of stage left on the turf, the side closest to the Mandalay Bay. As Jason Aldean was finishing up one of his songs, we heard what sounded like fireworks. I looked back at the husbands for reassurance and each of them shrugged, not knowing what it was, but gave me the “don’t worry” look.
Unfortunately what went running through my mind was the Orlando shooting, and how the victims said the gunfire sounded like fireworks. I was correct in my thinking, and it was the shooter’s first round of shots.
As Jason Aldean started his next song, the gunfire came more rapid and didn’t stop for over 11 minutes. These 11 minutes felt like forever, and eventually we were all able to make it out of the venue, except for our friend Monico. After first couple of rounds of shooting, our dear friend Monico was shot in the back. My husband and I were able to stay with him long enough until he was able to get help.
After a three-week stay at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas, Monico was released. Unfortunately. to this day, the bullet fragments remain in his body. They were not able to remove all the bullet fragments because they would do more harm searching for them.
On October 1, 2017, I was a victim of an assault rifle.
And on October 2, 2017, I became a survivor.