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‘I realized people were dying’: Photographer who captured chaos of Las Vegas massacre describes scene

Published: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 1:54 PM

Las Vegas Shooting: The Story Behind A Heartbreaking Photo

Photographer David Becker had finished shooting the final act of the Route 91 Harvest Festival and was in the media tent, filing his photos, when the first round of popping sounds began. 

“A security guy said it was just firecrackers, so I went back to work,” Becker told Time magazine on Monday.

Little did Becker, who was working the festival for Getty Images, know that he was about to witness firsthand the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Suspected gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire Sunday night from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, which overlooked the festival grounds, and killed at least 59 people and wounded more than 500 more. 

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Complete coverage of the deadly Las Vegas concert shooting

“The second time I heard the popping sounds, somebody said to me, ‘It was just speakers or sound equipment,’ and again, I went back into the media tent,” Becker told the Washington Post. “Then the noises went again, and that was when the crowd started to flee.”

People run for cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017, after a gunman opened fire from his nearby hotel room. At least 59 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.((David Becker/Getty Images))

Even as he grabbed his camera and went outside, Becker had no idea what he was seeing. Still, he began shooting photos of the crowd, some of whom were crying, ducking for cover or talking on cellphones. 

Becker stood on a table and kept taking photos, telling himself it was a speaker popping, he told both Time and the Post. He had no idea at the time that the sporadic sounds he was hearing was gunfire from automatic rifles being fired about 500 yards away.

“It was really hard to get a sense of what was happening,” Becker said, according to the Post. “At this stage, I still just thought it was a speaker popping, so I was trying to capture people’s emotions and a sense of the panic that was around me.”

He witnessed a man shielding a woman with his body. Unable to tell if the woman was injured because the lighting was so poor, Becker watched as she and the man got up and ran away. 

A man shields a woman with his body at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017, after a gunman opened fire from his nearby hotel room. At least 59 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.((David Becker/Getty Images))

He saw a man in a wheelchair being helped to an exit. He saw bodies lying on the ground, but could not tell if the people were injured, or just pretending.

“I was trying to capture anything that was moving and that had good lighting,” Becker said. “That was critical. It was so dark, and there was limited lighting.”

Becker said it was only after he went back into the media tent that he learned the reality of what he was seeing. He called a colleague, who told him that police had called a “code red” and set up a perimeter around the festival grounds. 

“It was then I started looking at my photographs, and what I was seeing was just unbelievable,” Becker said. “It had been so dark outside, I couldn’t see the details. I just saw a lot of people laying on the ground, thinking they were playing possum, but now I could see people covered in blood and I thought, ‘This is real.’

People carry a wounded concert patron to safety at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017, after a gunman opened fire from his nearby hotel room. At least 59 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.((David Becker/Getty Images))

“When I saw the image of the woman lying on the ground, covered in blood, that was when the impact of what I was experiencing hit. When I realized people were dying.”

Becker kept editing and filing his photographs, working solely by the light of his laptop after officials cut the power to the venue to help hide those cowering in fear. After several minutes of working, police officers arrived and escorted him to his car.

See more photos from Becker and other photographers in the galleries at the bottom of this story. 

The seasoned photographer did not stop working, however. He spent the rest of the night capturing images of law enforcement moving in and those wounded in the shooting helping one another on the streets.

Las Vegas police officers stand guard outside the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on Oct. 1, 2017, after a gunman opened fire from his hotel room in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, pictured in the background. At least 59 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.((David Becker/Getty Images))

Becker told the Post it is hard for him to comprehend what he saw that night. He said he continued working by using his instinct to “photograph first and ask questions later,” which he said is “second nature” for a photojournalist. 

“I was on autopilot, just doing my job capturing what was happening, which I think is important,” Becker said. “Impactful images like these tell a story, they move people to think twice about doing anything like this.”

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These types of pet foods could cause heart disease in dogs, report says

Published: Saturday, July 14, 2018 @ 11:15 PM

FDA Warns These Types of Pet Foods Can Cause Heart Disease in Dogs

Want to keep your pup healthy? You may have to avoid certain foods, because some could cause heart disease, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration. 

>> Read more trending news

The agency issued a warning this week after assessing reports that have associated certain diets with cardiovascular disease. 

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Researchers found that pet foods with peas, lentils, potatoes and other legume seeds have been linked with instances of canine dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle in dogs. The condition can enlarge the heart, often leading to heart failure.

Although the illness is typically found in larger breeds like great Danes and Newfoundlands, the FDA said “highly unusual” reports of dogs not vulnerable to the disease have contracted it. 

“That’s why the FDA is conducting an investigation into this potential link,” the organization wrote in the statement. “The FDA has been in contact with the pet food manufacturers and the veterinary community to discuss these reports and will provide updates as more information becomes available.”

For now, experts are advising pet owners to consult their veterinarians before making any changes to their pets’ diets. 

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'Sea creature' may have bitten 14-year-old girl at Florida beach, officials say

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 3:55 AM

How to Avoid a Shark Attack

A teenage girl was airlifted to the hospital Saturday after possibly being bitten by something on Playalinda Beach in Florida, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue.

>> Watch the news report here

The 14-year-old girl came out of the ocean with a severe cut on her leg, firefighters said. 

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Officials said they have not yet determined if the cut was surfboard-related or from a “sea creature.” 

>> Read more trending news 

The girl was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center, officials said. 

On Friday, Fernandina Beach police said two people were bitten by a shark, closing the beach there.

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Endangered sea turtle found dead with beach chair around neck prompts viral plea

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 5:29 AM

File photo of a Kemp's ridley sea turtle on the beach.
skeeze / Pixabay.com
File photo of a Kemp's ridley sea turtle on the beach.(skeeze / Pixabay.com)

An Alabama conservation group has issued a graphic warning after an endangered sea turtle was reportedly found dead, tangled in an old beach chair.

According to WMBBFort Morgan Share the Beach posted a now-viral Facebook photo Saturday of the dead Kemp’s ridley turtle, which washed ashore at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.

>> On WFTV.com: ‘Sea creature’ may have bitten 14-year-old girl at Florida beach, officials say

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“This makes me so mad,” the post read. “How many hundreds of times do we have to ask people to pick their stuff up? It should just be common decency. I think I am going to print this out and carry it with me next time I have to ask.”

>> See the post here (WARNING: Graphic photo)

By Sunday morning, the post had been shared more than 2,700 times, prompting hundreds of comments.

“Come on, people, if you want to ‘adult,’ then be one and pick up after yourselves,” one commenter wrote. “This is their habitat, be mindful and respect it.”

>> Read more trending news 

“Please, please. Only leave footprints,” added another. “How do we make visitors understand this?”

Read more here.

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Drive-thru marijuana dispensary opens in Washington state

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 8:12 AM

Five Fast Facts: Marijuana

Washington state's first drive-thru marijuana dispensary is now open for business.

>> Marijuana found in Wyoming city's flower pots after pranksters sneak seeds into planters

Joint Rivers, located at 2121 Auburn Way S. in Auburn, is open every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The store is planning its official grand opening in the coming months and will hold a Vendors' Day on July 30, where attendees can visit 30 vendors.

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“We are grateful and excited to provide great cannabis products with stellar customer service by the most educated and professional team in the Pacific Northwest,” General manager Audra Jaggers told the Federal Way Mirror on Tuesday.

>> On KIRO7.com: Women look to make mark on male-dominated marijuana industry

While Auburn limits the number of retail marijuana dispensaries in its city limits, Joint Rivers was able to open because it is on Muckleshoot tribal land.

>> On KIRO7.com: Calls about children exposed to cannabis increase 40 percent

According to the Federal Way Mirror, the Muckleshoot tribe "processed the application, performed its own building permit review and handled all other planning and development matters related to the business."

While the store is a first for Washington state, Cannabis Marketplace in Las Vegas became the first drive-thru marijuana dispensary in the country when it opened in November 2017.

>> On KIRO7.com: Doctors address illness linked to chronic marijuana use

In November of 2012, Washington voters approved Initiative 502 with 55 percent of the vote, making it legal for adults 21 and older to possess marijuana.

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