The darkest tragedies often bring out the brightest of our American heroes. That is exactly what happened this weekend in Las Vegas. A veteran Marine and his friends faced death over and over again in an attempt to save dozens of lives during the recent horrific shooting.
Taylor Winston, 29, was standing close to the stage when the gunfire began pouring down on the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Like many others, he thought at first that he heard fireworks but soon realized that people were screaming and then he saw bodies hitting the ground.
Winston, a sergeant who served in Iraq, and Jenn Lewis ran for cover with the crowd. They became separated from their friend, Jason, who stayed back to help his other friends make it to safety. One of those friends was shot in the bicep and survived.
Even though they reached a safe place, Winston and Lewis didn’t abandon those still caught in the crossfire. They ran to a work truck near the venue, no owner was in sight, so they took the vehicle to make sure victims could be rushed to the hospital.
“Jenn and I luckily found a truck with keys in it and started transporting priority victims to the hospital and made a couple of trips and tried to help out the best we could until more ambulances could arrive,” Winston said.
The dynamic duo made two trips and transported about two dozen people to the hospital. Victims were piled into the back seat and truck bed. Winston gave orders for people to apply pressure to the wounds, and he sped to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center, wanting to get people there “before they bled out.”
Winston is not sure which of his passengers survived. “I can’t be for certain. There’s a few that I don’t think probably made it. They were pretty limp when we were pulling them out of the truck, but they still had a pulse, so I’m hoping for the best.”
Taylor Winston served our country in the Marines from 2006 to 2011; he did a tour in Iraq before being honorably discharged. He said his experiences overseas, and military training might have caused him to run into the danger during Sunday’s massacre. But he didn’t want to take much credit.
“People needed to get out of there, and we tried the best we could to get as many as could,” Winston said of packing 10 to 15 people in the truck per trip. He stated that he didn’t even remember the faces of the people that he eventually saved. It was only after the dust settled that he found out that he had saved the life of a friend’s sister.
“I was in such a speedy movement I didn’t assess anyone’s faces or anything,” Winston said. “Just wounds and who was most critical. I was just trying to be efficient and get the most serious critical condition people to the hospital first.”
The young Marine has been hailed as a hero on Facebook:
“A huge shout out to my dear friend and veteran for showing the f*ck up for the people impacted by last night’s shootings. Taylor Winston people were so fortunate to have your guidance during the shooting and for your willingness to take the wounded to the hospital in a truck and for making more than one trip,” wrote one buddy, Jenifer Michelle.
“I know you didn’t do this for recognition but because it was the right thing to do and that’s what makes you such an incredible human,” she added.
A friend of Winston’s described the scene at the festival as “an absolute war zone.”
“I can’t sleep. I can’t process this. I close my eyes, and in great detail, my friends and I can visualize things we wish to never see again. But we can’t. I hear the sound of a gun and the pauses for the shooter to reload it. I hear the screaming and the terror in people’s voices. Running past people who most likely won’t make it home to their families tonight,” Jason Marc Zabala wrote on Facebook.
Zabala stayed at the venue as well to find his buddies after people fled, according to Winston.
“It was an absolute war zone. It felt scripted like it couldn’t happen to my friends or me. Yet we were a few yards away from getting hit by bullets, literally a couple of feet away. Taylor, Kacy, Jenn: you guys are one of many who stepped up and saved so many lives tonight,” Winston said.
Winston ended the night at Stoney’s country bar, where he parked the four-door, extended cab truck. The Marine said he planned to return the truck to the venue the next day, but when he went outside it was gone. “I’m sure they saw the blood all over the vehicle and thought that it should be towed,” he said.
Winston has this to say about the future, “You can’t really plan for something like this,” Winston said, noting that music fans shouldn’t “let the terrorism stop people from joining up and having good times.”
What do you think about this amazing young man?
Credit: The Daily Beast