Hooters Casino Dealer Describes Scene Near Las Vegas Shooting
KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
Schanda Bennett was working last night at the Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas when the shooting started. That casino's close to the concert venue where last night's attack happened. Schanda Bennett is a blackjack dealer. She had two players at her table when the shots started. She says she put the cover on her table and then hid underneath. And then people started running into her casino, people who were running away from the shooting. She described it to me earlier today when I talked to her on the phone.
SCHANDA BENNETT: There was no plan of evacuation or action whatsoever. Like, we had no idea what the hell we were supposed to do. Some of the girls ran out into the chaos. They ran out of the front door.
MCEVERS: Some of the people you work with.
BENNETT: Yeah. You could hear the gunshots outside. So when you're going through this thing and you're at work, I mean, literally we're in Las Vegas. So it's like, do I lose my job? Like, what do you do? Like, how much do they carry? Like, this is a 24-hour city. You know what I mean? There's no excuses for...
BENNETT: ...Them to not open their doors. You get what I'm saying? So while all of this is going on, I'm like, do I leave? Do I stay? But I'm seeing people coming in with bullet wounds in their bodies. There's people with busted knees, everything. And like, it was just horrible. There's blood everywhere. You have people hiding under the tables of the casino, like, literally in the pit. Normally, like, I don't know if you've ever gambled before, but you know nobody can come in the middle of the pit.
BENNETT: We had people everywhere. They were back near the cage with us. So the door that we go in to, like, count our money - we had them in there with us. They were back in the employee dining room. They were everywhere. They were in the hallways. They were everywhere.
MCEVERS: How many people do you think - I mean, did you see?
BENNETT: How many people? I saw at least 400 people. How many wounded people? It was at least 70 wounded people. I mean, we had Metro all out in the front. There were people - there were bodies in the front of the casino that was just laying there. People that ran from the venue - they just died right there.
MCEVERS: So what else did you do? So you hid under a table for a while. Then you got up. Then you heard the gunshots, and you got back down on the floor.
BENNETT: I got back down on the floor. And then this is when people are still running in. Like, this lasted for a good 20 to 25 minutes. It had to. It probably was longer than that. But the amount of people that was running in was all night that just kept coming in from every single direction. Eventually everybody was, like, shoveled from the back where the employee dining room and the locker rooms and the bathrooms are. But that was, like, a hour and a half after everything happened.
So I was just, like, doing what I could do - passing out water. I was praying with a number of the concertgoers. One lady - she lost her kid. So I mean, we're crying. We're praying. It's just crazy. It was something - like, it was a war zone. Like, it's, like, crazy. Yeah, you don't want to see that.
MCEVERS: What time did you finally leave?
BENNETT: I finally left around 1 a.m. I finally left around - at 1 a.m. And I forgot, yeah, I actually did attempt to go leave, and then I came - I just went back inside. I was like, I'm not going to go to my car. I'm just going to go back inside and stay here. And I just stayed even though, like I said, a number of other people - they left.
MCEVERS: And so did you just go home? Or I mean, and...
BENNETT: Actually, I didn't just go home. I ended up, like, taking some kids home. It was, like, two girls and a guy. One of the girls didn't have any shoes on. Like, one of them lost their cellphone. And I took them home. So they live in Henderson, but I live, like, right off of Las Vegas Boulevard. So I took them home. I mean, that was the least that I could do.
MCEVERS: What are you thinking today about all this?
BENNETT: I'm just emotional right now. I haven't been to sleep. I've only slept for, like, literally an hour and a half maybe. And that wasn't even really sleep, you know what I mean? Like, I just closed my eyes. I've been - I've - I mean, I've been crying. I've been all over the place. It's just - I'm still - it's still surreal. Like, it's just - it doesn't feel real, but you know it's real from what you see. Like, this is, like - I can't believe it happened.
MCEVERS: Thanks a lot, Schanda Bennett. We appreciate it. And seriously, take care.
BENNETT: You, too. Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.