Mother shares Las Vegas lockdown experience: 'I just wanted to get home to my son'

A Stockton woman describes her experience near the Las Vegas concert shooting.

"How [much more] American can you get [than] at a country concert?"

That's the question still on Joann Sterni-Juarez's mind the day after a horrifying mass shooting claimed 59 lives, injuring more than 500 others. 

Sterni-Juarez said the concert even included a tribute to veterans who were pulled up on stage.

"All of them went into action," said Sterni-Juarez.

Like many, Sterni-Juarez and her husband first thought fireworks were going off.

"It was chaotic, hearing people scream, people running with blood," said Sterni-Juarez.

She and her husband took shelter at the Tropicana hotel nearby, where they were on lockdown for hours. 

Sterni-Juarez said she wasn't even sure that hotel was safe.

"Is there a shooter in here? We don't know," said Sterni-Juarez. "I don't know [what was more frightening], running, or being at the hotel, not knowing anything."

Sterni-Juarez said one moment, everyone would be hiding. Then a person would walk in and everybody would run. People were trying to lock themselves in closets, hiding in bushes, arming themselves with pipes, knives, whatever they could get their hands on to feel safe. She rushed home as soon as the lockdown was over, cutting her trip short by a couple of days.

"[My son] opened the garage and gave me a big hug," said Sterni-Juarez, in tears. "That was the scariest part, not knowing if I was going to come home."

Now that she is safely back home, Sterni-Juarez is grateful to be alive. And somehow even in the worst possible moment, she is remembering the best of humanity. 

"Everybody came together, guys covering girls and kids, hovering over them," said Sterni-Juarez. "Seeing people run back and helping, going back and grabbing them, trying to protect people, seeing everybody work together."        

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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