A Texas police chief who was on vacation in Las Vegas was hit in his hand with a bullet fragment in Sunday night’s mass shooting but quickly turned to help others, commandeering a stranger’s car to rush three seriously-wounded people to the hospital.
Seguin Deputy Police Chief Bruce Ure and a friend were enjoying the country music concert, which was nearing its end, when the gunfire started.
"The bursts were coming so fast I tried to count them,” said Ure. “I was trying to count to see if he was changing out a clip. I couldn’t count."
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Ure, the one-time police chief in Watauga, said he thought he was hearing the sound of fireworks at first but realized within seconds it was gunfire.
"I laid down. We all laid down. We screamed, 'Gun! Gun!’” he said in an interview Tuesday on the Las Vegas strip.
Ure has been a law enforcement officer for more than 30 years but said he could never have imagined what he experienced that night.
With bullets hitting the ground around him, he said he soon figured out the shots were coming from above.
"We had to do something on our own,” he said. “It was that or everybody was going to die."
He said one of the bullets hit the ground about eight inches from him.
A fragment hit his right hand, causing a minor injury.
“I got one little cut out of it,” he said. “That's when I decided I'm not dying here tonight."
The shots just kept coming, he said.
"This guy, either he was going to die from old age or run out of ammo or the police were going to get him, and I wasn't sure what was going to happen first,” Ure said.
As he ran, he turned a corner and saw many victims on the ground.
“That's when I saw the carnage,” he said. “It was puddles of blood."
Ure came across a man in his 20’s, shot in his leg.
"And he was dying,” he remembered. “We knew he was dying so we grabbed him up and dragged him across the street."
Fortunately, back in Seguin, Ure had received tourniquet training just a few weeks ago.
He put the training into use.
"Saw his belt, took it off, got a tourniquet on this guy,” Ure said.
It was chaos.
"Two other woman came over who had been significantly shot,” he said. “They thought this guy must be medical. Well I'm not. I'm a cop."
But still, he knows it's his duty to help.
"This place is going crazy at this point,” he said. “So I had a guy, a car was going by. I told him, ‘Jump in front of it. If he hits you, he hits you. I need to get wheels.’"
"We hollered, ‘We need your car,’” he said. “I'm putting three bloody people, one profusely bleeding, and this guy didn't give it a second thought. You talk about heroes that day. That guy is the hero. It's people like that that were everywhere."
They piled in the stranger's car and raced to hospital.
“They were all crying,” Ure said. “They were saying, ‘We are going to die.’ I remember telling them, ‘Not tonight. not tonight. Tonight is not your night. You are going to be OK.’"
The off-duty cop told the driver to drive as fast as he could to the hospital.
At one point, he said, they drove into oncoming traffic.
They made it to the hospital, which was quickly filling with other victims.
Ure never got the names of those he helped but believes they survived.
He said he is grateful he could help that night but added there were many heroes.
He is still angry at the shooter.
"I've never seen such a hateful, hateful display from a human being as what this guy did,” Ure said. “It was like shooting human fish in a barrel is what it was."