Las Vegas massacre heroes discuss coping with trauma

- During the aftermath of the massacre at a country music festival in Las Vegas in October 2017, tales of heroism quickly emerged.

Former Marine Taylor Winston, 29, stole a truck and drove critically injured victims to the closest hospital near the Strip.

"I saw an employee parking lot across the street and I knew, I've been to so many festivals, that one of those vehicles would have a key in it," Winston said. "First one I tried, lucked out."

Winston was on a panel at the Greater New York Red Cross on Friday to discuss coping with and emotional recovery after mass violence. The Iraq War veteran shared that after stealing the truck, gathering those wounded was his priority. He helped transport 24 people.

"I pulled up and they just started putting people that were critically injured. And once we filled up, there were so many more still," Winston said. "And it was pretty hard to drive away but we just had to take who we already had loaded up to the hospital, unloaded and did the same thing—went back a third time."

Panelist Dr. Shiva Ghaed, a U.S. Navy psychologist specializing in PTSD, was also at the country music festival that night. Less than a week later, she started a support group to help those impacted by it. the group meets every Monday.

"I opened it up to survivors and their family and friends because I believe if something happens to a family member or loved one, it happens to you," Ghaed said. "People tend to minimize their level of pain and suffering when it's not a direct experience that they have."

The Red Cross said the symposium was an effort to have a frank discussion on the long-lasting mental scars from traumatic events like Vegas and other mass shootings and the affect they can have on all of us.

"Hearing banging of the garbage cans in the background, thinking worst-case scenario, large crowds," Winston said. "No matter what, I imagine someone is going to come in here. how easy it would be to drive up in a van shoot down a bouncer and walk in."

"I really wanted to let as much of the population as possible learn that it is in fact highly treatable," Ghaed said.

American Red Cross of Greater New York CEO Josh Lockwood said he has responded to both the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and Las Vegas festival shootings.

"I can say for those survivors, really being open to the idea of talking about their feelings and what they've experienced has been critical in the healing process," Lockwood said.

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