Yukon Party interim leader Stacey Hassard (centre) observes a moment of silence in the legislature to honour the victims of the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas. Hassard and his wife were in the crowd when the shooting started. Both escaped unharmed. (Jesse Winter/Yukon News)

Yukon Party interim leader among crowd during deadly Vegas shooting

Stacey and Shelley Hassard are safe, back in the Yukon following massacre

When the shooting started, Stacey Hassard, like many people standing around him, thought he was hearing fireworks.

“That first short volley that went off, both my wife and the lady next to me turned with panicked looks and I said, ‘Relax, it’s just someone shooting off some fireworks.’ I really did believe that.”

Hassard, the interim leader of the Yukon Party, and his wife Shelley were in the crowd at an outdoor Jason Aldean concert Oct. 1 in Las Vegas. That’s where a gunman, firing from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, began shooting bullets into the crowd.

Fifty-nine people died and hundreds more are injured, making it the among the deadliest mass shootings in American history.

“I guess the biggest thing I felt was fear, obviously,” an emotional Hassard said.

When he realized it was gunfire he was hearing, he and his wife laid on the ground for a moment before realizing that it was safer to try and get out of the area, Hassard said.

He described seeing frantic concertgoers.

“I guess my biggest concern, kind of weird to say but, I think I was more concerned with people running over one another than I actually was about the gunfire,” he said.

“So I was just trying to get people to calmly move away which might sound kind of stupid because there’s nothing very calm about a situation like that.”

Hassard said he and his wife found shelter near a bar that had been set up for the concert

“We got a desk and some tables flipped over and a few cases of bottled water. It wasn’t much but it was what was there.”

The pair managed to safely leave the arena and take a taxi back to their hotel.

“Nobody had any idea. We were (staying) down at the other end of the strip and when we got back there people had no idea that this was all taking place.”

Back in the Yukon, Hassard said he is glad to be home.

“I feel for all the people who are grieving and I’m happy to be home.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

City of Whitehorse tells taxi passengers who feel unsafe to not travel alone

Suggestion criticized by advocates for placing burden of safety on passengers, not taxi companies

Whitehorse’s new emergency room slated to open in early January

40,000-square-foot building will be more efficient, officials say

Judge finds Whitehorse man not guilty of raping teen in 2015 after second trial

Judge Raymond Wyant found Jackie James Kodwat not guilty of sexual assault.

Whitehorse’s sidewalks are a deathtrap

In the interest of safety and simplicity, the city should just plow the sidewalks

Police, coroner investigating suspicious death in Pelly Crossing

Investigators have ordered an autopsy, which will take place in Vancouver Dec. 18

Two Yukon projects shortlisted for the Arctic Inspiration Prize

Projects from Whitehorse, Carcross up for cash

Lower Post, B.C., man suing Yukon RCMP over assault allegation

Suit alleges man ended up with ‘ended up with bruising on his arms, biceps and chest’

Yukon needs a better plan for long-term care

The government can find solutions if it has the will. Does it have the will?

Hard travel over the Yukon’s winter trails

The overland trip to Dawson City today is a cakewalk compared to a century ago

Globalization infiltrates the Yukon’s recycling bins

You’re going to have to do a better job sorting your junk or else China won’t take it

Driving during the holidays

It’s hectic on the roads at Christmastime

Whitehorse council chambers needs new audio-visual equipment

‘More than 10 people’ watch city’s televised meetings

Most Read