THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Todd Riley says he’s lucky to be alive after being severely wounded in the Las Vegas shootings.
He and a fellow teacher, Mike Grapner, were at Sunday night’s Jason Aldean concert when the attack began. They told their story to CBS4’s Tom Mustin. Riley pointed out his wounds, saying “this one was pouring, this one was pumping.”
Riley is the assistant principal at Thornton’s Century Middle School. Grapner is an 8th grade teacher.
“I heard a pop, pop, pop,” Riley said. “This wave of people just sprinted past me.”
Seconds later, he felt an extreme pain in his leg.
“I felt a burn. I didn’t know why.”
During a pause in the shots, he started to run.
“The shooting starts up again, and there’s a lady running towards me, and that’s when she goes down.”
Separated from Grapner and their friends, Riley ran up to the woman and pulled her away from the gunfire. He and a stranger tried to give her CPR.
“I started pulling off her shirt, and she has an entry wound near her shoulder.”
Riley says the woman was in her 20s. He and others grabbed her and put her n a wheelbarrow that had been used to carry ice. They raced her to a triage area. Seconds later, his leg collapsed.
“That’s when I realized I couldn’t stand.”
Riley says he had eight or nine wounds from bullet fragments. The wounds ran from his leg to his stomach.
“I looked down, the upper wound on my leg is just pouring blood. The other one, on the front of my thigh was just pouring blood.”
As paramedics worked to save his life, Riley realized the young woman had died.
“I want her family to know she didn’t die alone. I can’t even look to find out who she was,” he said through tears.
Riley and Grapner both call the shooter a coward. They realize how fortunate they are to be alive. Grapner says he refuses to let the gunman have the last word.
“Here’s what you need to know about him. He’s nuts, he killed a lot of people. End of story.”
The two men say they believe the first responders are the real heroes.
After being in the midst of the chaos, both men say they have a long road to recovery — both mentally and physically — but they’ll get there.