(copied from original post that appeared on my Instagram page (@rondachurchill) on Monday, Oct. 2 at 10 p.m.)
I still can’t seem to put this day to rest. These are the windows, one with curtains billowing from it, the other several panels to the left of first, where a shooter took aim and ambushed people attending an outdoor festival across the Las Vegas Strip. Last week, I was photographing all day at the same concert venue and stepped out for an hour to capture photos from the rooftop of this same hotel. Security escorted me. The view was breathtaking.
This morning, I was on the Strip at sunrise working alongside friends, colleagues and professionals in this business we call home. We saw heartache, tears, blood and displaced people. After being on scene for 90 minutes, I was forced into an emergency evacuation while editing inside a nearby property. In those first, heart-pounding moments, I thought to myself, “This is it. It’s happening again.” I knew I wasn’t the only one thinking this as I ran with tourists and employees. Everyone was going different directions. I was told to hide in the bathroom or run outside to the pool. Luckily, it was a false alarm, but the incident ignited my veins with fear and adrenaline. This is what those concert attendees felt, but infinitely worse–bullets and chaos and carnage. The most awful part and the most extreme unfair and unkind thing in the entire world is that some of them do not get to write about it to feel better.
For those of you who have suffered great loss today, I hope that you find peace.
1-866-535-5654, for families trying to locate loved ones
lvmpd.com for blood donation sites
Author note: Ronda Churchill is a freelance photojournalist based in Las Vegas for the past 14 years. She is available for assignment anytime. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org