Head baseball Coach Dave Mallas attended the Las Vegas music festival and made it home with his family.
By Savannah Simmons, Staff Writer
News reports say the majority of festival attendees hailed from California for this carefree music filled weekend turned nightmare and of all those Californians, one of them was Valley College’s own head baseball coach Dave Mallas.
Mallas has been the head baseball coach for going on 14 seasons at Valley and was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival celebrating his wife, Ginger’s, birthday when the tragic events occurred. In a 22-minute interview with KPAY Sports, Mallas spoke about his escape from the festival, how he helped a man a wheelchair, connected with his family, and got back to his two children the next day.
“Going from what we thought were fireworks, we started runnin’.” said Mallas describing his pathway out of harm’s way. “We went into one of those vendor booths. Time is pretty wild when you’re in the midst of it. It seemed like a while but it was probably only about 30 seconds.”
As Mallas was taking cover in a booth, then running to an exit, Stephan Paddock, a 64-year-old resident of Nevada, was unloading multiple rounds from an automatic assault rifle into the crowd of 22,000 people below gathered for the country music festival. His shooting spree killed 58 and wounded 527, making this the deadliest mass shooting in the United States.
Festival goers had to quickly climb fences and take shelter behind barricades of whatever they could find to try and stay safe from the 8-10 minute spray of bullets landing all around them. With the help of another attendee, Mallas lifted a man in a wheelchair over a barricade while everyone around them were pushing and shoving behind them.
Up on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Paddock shattered the windows and began shooting across the way into the Las Vegas Village where country music fans watched Jason Aldean perform the last songs of the night as he was the festival’s closing act.
Videos circulating social media and being aired on the news show masses of people running and ducking for their lives as gunshots endlessly go off and shrieks of pain and terror are heard.
The Hooters Hotel served as a safe locked down area where people could stay until the police searched the scene and shut down the entire strip for the remainder of the night. This is where Mallas found his sister-in-law and ended up in a room with about 15 other people who were welcomed by two guys just trying to help. His brother then picked them up and took them to their parents’ house to stay the night and be with family.
“We’ve been watching this for decades.” said Mallas talking about the other mass shootings in the past. “You see chaos ensuing and you wonder what it was like and what they must be going through. We’re part of U.S. history.”
The last deadliest shooting in the United States happened only 16 months ago at the Pulse night club where 49 people were killed.
“In a crisis moment, just like when you’re on the field, you’re gonna act a certain way in stressful moments.” Mallas said. “The more you’re prepared the more you’re probably going to be able to handle it appropriately.”