by David DeMullé
The Las Vegas massacre produced heroes that took things into their own hands to save lives and protect people from the deranged killer that killed 59 and wounded over 500 people. One group of heroes were the Cuddihy family of Tujunga.
Matt Cuddihy was shooting video of concertgoers having a great time at the Route 91 Harvest Festival while performer Jason Aldean was on stage. Then shots began to ring out, first sounding like firecrackers then turning into the methodical staccato sound of machine gun fire.
Aldean was taken off the stage as people were beginning to wonder what was happening. Cuddihy said that he didn’t panic at first and then he saw people falling to the ground. He looked for his new friend Katrina and saw her laying on the ground. Cuddihy, who was in a firefighter EMT course, reacted to the situation and sizing up the situation, took off his shirt and staunched the flow of blood from her neck and shoulder. “I look around and I just see a few people drop to my right. To my left, I see more people drop over there. And then I look down and I see Katrina on the floor, and I knew this is real,” Cuddihy described. “The ‘scared’ turned off in me on the spot, and it was go-to-work time,” he said. “I look over to my right and I see this guy shot to the head, gone. He’s obviously deceased. So what I do is I pull him towards me, cover me and cover Katrina. Now, I have this guy, this dead guy, now on my back protecting me from incoming bullets,” Cuddihy said. He saw so many others in need of help, that once he was sure that she was safe, he had to leave Katrina to find and help them.
“Having to leave her was probably the worst thing I’ve ever gone through in my whole entire life,” Cuddihy said.
A Marine named Austin Cox carried Katrina to a waiting truck and Cuddihy met up with his family who are also EMT trained, and they began to do triage on the people around them. Matt Cuddihy put improvised tourniquets on over nine people who were wounded and stopped the bleeding, saving their lives. “I’m glad I was there. I’m sure you won’t hear that from anyone. I’m glad I was there, because I know damn well that a lot of the people I treated probably would not be here if I wasn’t,” Cuddihy said.