A gunman opened fire on a Las Vegas music festival on Sunday night, killing at least 59 people and hurting more than 500 others.
Former top Las Vegas casino executive, and current CEO for Comanche Nation Entertainment,Michael Starr had just arrived to the city. He rented a car, and was pulling up to the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino around 10 p.m. when he says "pure pandemonium" broke out.
"We heard the shots... it was boom, boom, boom," Starr said he'd been sitting at the stop light. He and his passengers were in route to the neighboring Luxor Hotel, with plans to attend the annual G2E convention, the gaming industry's largest convention and trade expo.
Starr says he's familiar with navigating the Las Vegas strip. He'd done so many times during his extended career, including his role as general manager for Mandalay Bay in 1999.
"We saw people laying on the ground, literally, trying to huddle up against a wall for fear they were going to be shot," Starr said it was worse than any scenario they'd trained for in the past .
As hundreds of frightened concert-goers ran from the nearby venue, he says a couple hopped in his car. "There was a girl who was absolutely hysterical jumped in the rental car and said please get me out of here there's a shooter," he explained.
With an active shooter situation underway, he turned the car toward a nearby convenience store to take cover. Eventually, he and his passengers were shuttled to the Luxor Hotel and put on lockdown for nearly six hours.
"Every manager knows the emergency plan if you have to evacuate or lock down a hotel," Starr explained, the casinos began implementing extra emergency response training following the Sept. 11th terror attacks, "We knew that something like this was possible we just hoped it would never happen."
Starr added that the casinos affiliated with Comanche Nation Entertainment have also received training for active shooter situations.