GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- A Glendale firefighter was honored for his heroic efforts to help the wounded as bullets were flying around him at the country music festival shooting in Las Vegas last month.
Firefighter/paramedic Steven Keys was honored with the Glendale Fire Department's Medal of Valor. His account of the events of that night was read by ABC7's Ellen Leyva, who served as emcee of the GFD's firefighter awards luncheon on Tuesday.
Keys was attending the Route 91 festival and was near the right of the stage when the shooting began.
At first he thought it was fireworks.
Then he saw a woman in front of him fall backwards.
Bullets were still flying as Keys crawled forward to try to help her. He was giving her chest compressions as he felt a bullet graze his own side.
"An unknown amount of seconds later another round of shots went off and it was during this round of fire that felt myself get hit on my left side," he recalled. "The round didn't stop coming so at this point I knew now that we were being targeted, and that unfortunately this victim was no longer viable."
Eventually during a break in the firing he took cover under nearby bleachers along with other concertgoers, as they could hear bullets ringing off the aluminum seats above them.
Once he and otherS got outside the concert grounds, he began locating wounded patients and assisting them any way he could, performing CPR, keeping pressure on wounds and applying tourniquets.
When Las Vegas paramedics showed up, he helped point out the most critically injured and help them start care.
Then, still not sure if the shooting was over, he joined others in a private vehicle and drove to the front entrance to pick up the wounded and take them to the ambulances.
"There were dozens of amazing heroic and brave people pitching in to provide care," he said. "And it was an honor to work beside all of them."
EXCERPTS FROM STEVEN KEYS' ACCOUNT OF THE LAS VEGAS SHOOTING:
About 10 minutes prior, I had left my group and made my way towards the front, to the right of the stage. A few minutes later the first round of shots were fired.
No one, at least no one in my area, really knew for certain what it was, and my initial assumption was that it was some sort of firecrackers/fireworks. Some people ducked. Some didn't.
I noticed that a woman about 10 to 15 feet in front of me fell backwards, and the man she was with started yelling for a medic.
The second round of fire began so I ducked down, crawled forward to them and noticed she was shot multiple times. Still unaware exactly where the shooting was coming from, I (while staying low and leaning over her body) began analyzing how badly she was hurt, and once I recognized her condition I started giving her chest compressions.
An unknown amount of seconds later another round of shots went off and it was during this round of fire that I felt myself get hit on my left side.
The rounds didn't stop coming so at this point I knew now that we were being targeted, and that unfortunately this victim was no longer viable.
I then switched over to survival mode and laid flat on the ground with the assumption that the shots were coming from ground level.
Once this round of shooting stopped I noticed that many people had scrambled towards the center of the grass and took cover there. Assuming they knew where the shots were coming from and that they determined that was the safest place, I crawled in their direction.
While doing so I checked to see how badly I was hit, and realized that the bullet had traveled down my left side and was what I would call a "graze" wound.
Then the shooting began again, and I could do nothing but lay there while bullets hit both the ground, and numerous bodies all around me.
I realized at this moment that I was in a terrible location and made up my mind that if I survived this round, then as soon as there was another break in the shooting, I would get up, run, and take cover under the bleachers, where I joined about 2 dozen other people.
Noticing that some victims with less critical injuries were being moved around the corner, I decided to head that way and see if they could use my help.
For the next 45 minutes to an hour while police officers were covering us and reporting that the shooter was not yet down, and that there were reports that there were multiple other shooters in the area, I worked alongside about a dozen civilians helping victims.
We helped in various ways including applying tourniquets, holding direct pressure, and once an offduty nurse showed up with her trauma bag, I started multiple IVs.
At some point a law enforcement officer advised us that there were victims back near the entrance to the venue that could not make it to the ambulance pickup area.
With still no reports of the shooter down, and status of other shooters unknown, I joined two other individuals with using a utility vehicle we found unattended, and with assurance from the officers that they would cover us on both sides, we drove back to the entrance to the venue.
We proceeded to make multiple trips loading patients up and transporting them back to where the ambulances were.
Once all but the very minor patients were treated and transported, and multiple ambulances had arrived, I left the scene, and within a few hours was able to meet up with friends, where I finally began the process of trying to understand exactly what I had just experienced.
I was very fortunate that during all of this, I was hearing from everyone that I was there with and was able to hear that thankfully none of them were critically injured.
There were dozens of amazing heroic and brave people pitching in to provide care and it was an honor to work beside all of them. None of them who I will ever know their names.
Glendale firefighter honored for helping Las Vegas victims
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