Acts of heroism emerge in chaos of Las Vegas shooting

Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 3:47 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 3:44 AM

Rob Ledbetter's battlefield instincts kicked in quickly as bullets rained overhead.

The 42-year-old U.S. Army veteran who served as a sniper in Iraq immediately began tending to the wounded, one of several heroes to emerge from the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Amid the massacre in Las Vegas, which left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured, there were acts of compassion and countless heroics that officials say saved many lives.

There was a man one survivor knows only as Zach who herded people to a safe place. There was a registered nurse from Tennessee who died shielding his wife.

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Like many people in the crowd of some 22,000 country music fans Sunday night, Ledbetter heard the pop-pop-popping noise and figured it was fireworks. Then he saw people dropping to the ground. When more booms echoed in the night air, he recognized the sound of automatic weapons fire.

The gunman, identified as Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old retired accountant from Mesquite, Nevada, created his own sniper's perch inside the 32nd floor room at the Mandalay Bay casino hotel, across from the concert grounds. He appeared to fire unhindered for more than 10 minutes, according to radio traffic, and then killed himself before officers stormed in and found 23 firearms.

"The echo, it sounded like it was coming from everywhere and you didn't know which way to run," said Ledbetter, who was at the concert with seven people including his brother, who was shot and injured, and his wife. They found cover in a VIP area of the concert. Once out of harm's way, he turned to injured strangers.

Thanks to a man who took the flannel shirt off his back, Ledbetter says he put a makeshift tourniquet on a wounded teenage girl, whose face was covered with blood.

"Some random guy, I said, 'I need your shirt,' "said Ledbetter, who is now a mortgage broker and a resident of Las Vegas. "He just gave me the flannel off his back."

Ledbetter said he compressed someone else's shoulder wound, and he fashioned a bandage for a man whose leg was shot through by a bullet.

"There was a guy that looked like he had a through and through on his leg, that we just put a T-shirt around and just did a bandanna tie," said Ledbetter, who was outside University Medical Center on Monday, where his brother was being treated for a gunshot that went through his arm and into his chest. He is expected to survive.

Ledbetter and others grabbed the injured man, carried him out to Las Vegas Boulevard, put him in the back of a utility truck with five to 10 other people that was headed to the hospital.

Ledbetter said he would have helped more people but couldn't clear the barrage of gunfire.

"I'm saving people, or trying to do my best. But it got to the point, I saw people all over, laying where we used to be standing ... just laying there and nobody getting to them and I couldn't get out there. The shots just kept coming in and bouncing. I would have been in harm's way," he said.

He worries that those unfamiliar with battlefields will suffer what they have survived.

"Everybody there is going to have emotional problems. I know that. There was blood everywhere I went: Excalibur, Luxor, on the Strip, on the street," Ledbetter said. "All these people are going to have PTSD. I feel bad for all of them."

Another concertgoer, Anna Kupchyan, credits a man she knows only as Zach for saving her life and about nine others when he herded them into an outdoor trailer serving as a restroom.

Kupchyan, a 27-year-old law student from Los Angeles, said bullets were raining down on the crowd as she and a horde of others began running in search of a way out of the outdoor venue.

The man, Zach, opened a door and ordered people inside and then joined them and shut the door, Kupchyan said.

They stayed inside as the shooting continued, everyone paralyzed in fear, she said.

"Then security came and they shouted for us to get out, to run," she recalled. Outside the trailer, dead bodies were sprawled on the ground, including a man who had been shot in the head, she said.

She and her best friend Leslie Aguilar, a 26-year-old therapist, eventually jumped in a cab that was driving by and befriended two other women survivors who let them stay in their hotel room until the danger subsided.

Not all of Sunday night's heroes survived.

Sonny Melton, a registered nurse, died in the shooting, according to The Henry County Medical Center in Paris, Tennessee, where he worked.

His wife, Dr. Heather Melton, an orthopedic surgeon who was with him when shots were fired, survived.

She told WZTV in Nashville, Tennessee, that her husband "saved my life and lost his." She said her husband was the most kind-hearted, loving man she ever met.

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Associated Press writers Jocelyn Gecker in San Francisco and Anita Snow in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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No winner in Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot; prize skyrockets to $493 million

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 2:53 AM

There were no winners in the Mega Millions drawing on Friday, July 24. The jackpot is now at least $493 million for Tuesday's drawing.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
There were no winners in the Mega Millions drawing on Friday, July 24. The jackpot is now at least $493 million for Tuesday's drawing.(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

No winners in Friday’s Mega Millions means the jackpot keeps rising -- Tuesday’s drawing has topped $493 million.

It’s possible that the prize could surge over the half-billion mark based on ticket sales, lottery officials state.

>> Read more trending news 

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Tuesday’s jackpot of $493 million will be the fifth-largest in Mega Millions history.

If there is a winner and they choose the cash payout, they will take home $296 million.

Friday’s winning numbers were 44-14-30-62-1, with a Mega Ball of 1.

While no one took home the big prize, there were two $1 million ticket winners, in Illinois and Pennsylvania.

There were over 1.8 million winning tickets in Friday’s drawing at all levels, with 47 ticket winners of $10,000.

Tuesday night’s drawing will take place July 24 at 11 p.m. ET.

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Transgender woman says CVS pharmacist refused to fill hormone prescriptions

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 4:19 AM

Transgender woman Hilde Hall said a pharmacist at a CVS store in Phoenix, Arizona, refused to fill her hormone prescriptions. CVS said that employee has since been fired.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Transgender woman Hilde Hall said a pharmacist at a CVS store in Phoenix, Arizona, refused to fill her hormone prescriptions. CVS said that employee has since been fired.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A transgender woman in Phoenix has filed a formal complaint against CVS with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy, after she said a pharmacist refused to fill her hormone prescriptions and humiliated her in front of other customers.

>> Read more trending news 

In a blog on the ACLU of Arizona website, Hilde Hall said it was the first time she filled the prescription for hormone therapy.

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“I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I’ve always known myself to be,” Hall said.

Hall said the pharmacist loudly questioned her need for the medication and wouldn’t give her a clear reason why he wouldn’t fill the prescription, KSAZ reports.

“I nearly started crying in the middle of the store. I didn’t want to answer why I had been prescribed this hormone therapy combination by my doctor,” Hall wrote. “I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers. I just froze and worked on holding back the tears.”

Hall also said the pharmacist refused to give her back the doctor’s note so that she could go to another pharmacy. 

Hall said she called the CVS customer service complaint line twice, and when she didn’t hear back, she filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.

CVS said in a statement to CNN the pharmacist violated company policy and has been fired.

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White House figures show Trump on pace to equal Obama deficits

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 4:18 AM

Despite clear signs of expanded economic growth, the latest White House budget estimates predict that President Donald Trump is on the verge of overseeing an expansion of federal deficits which will rival that of President Barack Obama’s two terms in office, as the Trump Administration now forecasts a deficit next year that will be over $1 trillion, with no signs of a balanced budget on the horizon.

The latest figures issued by the Office of Management and Budget now predict a deficit this year of $890 billion – and deficits of over $1 trillion per year in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

When you take the $665 billion deficit from Fiscal Year 2017 – Mr. Trump’s first year in office – and then add the projected deficits from the White House budget office for seven more years – you get $7.3 trillion in debt for what would equal two terms of a Trump Administration.

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That would be almost identical to the $7.28 trillion in deficits run up under the eight years of the Obama Administration.

The deficit for 2018 is already running at $607 billion, not far from the 2017 total of $665 billion; one reason for the increase this year is fairly straightforward according to figures from the Treasury Department – revenues coming in to Uncle Sam are down since the implementation of the tax cut plan earlier this year, and overall government spending is up.

The update in budget deficit estimates earlier this month by the White House drew almost no attention on Capitol Hill, where GOP demands for budget restraint have for the most part, gone silent.

The last time the budget was close to being balanced was 2007, when the deficit dropped to $161 billion. But in 2008, the Wall Street Collapse led to an extended recession, as deficits jumped to $458 billion in 2008, and $1.41 trillion in 2009.

A few weeks ago, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow boldly pronounced in a television interview that the federal deficit was coming down, because of a jump in revenues spurred by economic growth under the Trump tax cuts.

But figures clearly show, that just is not the case, as the budget estimates for the White House show flat revenues in 2018, when compared to a year earlier.

“The White House is living in an alternate economic universe,” says Maya MacGuiness, the head of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

But few in Washington seem to be listening to warnings from budget watchdog groups like the CFRB, as the deficit just keeps going up, generating little consternation among GOP lawmakers in Congress who once badgered the Obama Administration about its deficit spending.

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911 call released in high school football player's death: ‘I just shot my friend’

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 3:37 AM

Jermarion Worthy, 17, is facing murder charges for shooting his friend inside his Charlotte, North Carolina home.
WSOCTV.com
Jermarion Worthy, 17, is facing murder charges for shooting his friend inside his Charlotte, North Carolina home.(WSOCTV.com)

Police have released the heartbreaking 911 call a Charlotte teenager made after authorities said he shot and killed his friend, WSOC reports

“I just, I just shot my friend,” Jermarion Worthy can be heard telling the dispatcher. “Somebody just shot through the house.”

“Is anyone injured?” the dispatcher asked.

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“He's shot in the head. Someone shot through the house,” Worthy replied.

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Police said Worthy shot his friend Jamie Bright on Sunday inside Bright's home on Clanton Road.

Worthy now faces murder charges in Bright’s death.

Family members said Bright, 18, was a football player for Harding University High School.

He was also a member of the Y-Achiever and Level Up program at the Stratford Richardson YMCA. 

“Jamie was a great young man,” said YMCA executive director Victor Nicholson. “Very respectful young man. Full of energy. Laughing and joking.”

Investigators have not released a motive but said Worthy, 17, stayed on the scene after the shooting and was arrested.

Worthy told police he and Bright were best friends.

Investigators have not said much about what led up to the shooting but confirmed the two teenagers knew each other. 

Bright’s sisters said they were close.

“My brother wanted to go to prom with me last year for my senior year and I went by myself,” sister Tynisha Bright said. “If I knew my brother was never going to go to prom, I would've took my brother with me.”

Friends and family attended a visitation Friday for Bright at Boston's Mortuary on Statesville Road.

Bright’s sister wore a shirt Friday with his picture on it. She and other family members are trying to forgive Worthy for what happened.

“I definitely can forgive him because my family is all about forgiving,” said his sister, Mardesha Bright.

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