As gunfire rained down in Las Vegas on Sunday night, a country music festival turned into what first responders have described as a "war zone" with over 50 dead. U.S veterans sprang into action to protect those around them and helped others find cover, evacuated the injured, treated the wounded and did what they do best – put themselves in harm’s way for the good of others.
Here are a few of their stories.
1. Marine vet Taylor Winston stole a truck to evacuate the wounded
Marine Corps veteran Taylor Winston (Photo: Facebook.)
Former Marine and Iraq vet Taylor Winston, 29, told CBS News he was dancing the two-step with his girlfriend when the gunfire started. As injured people fell around him, he helped throw a bunch of people over a barrier fence so they could escape.
He knew he couldn’t actually fight back, but he could drive, he said. So he stole a truck and started transporting victims.
"I saw a field with a bunch of white trucks. I tested my luck to see if any of them had keys in it, first one we tried opening had keys sitting right there. I started looking for people to take to the hospital," he told CBS. "There was just too many and it was overwhelming how much blood was everywhere."
All told he transported between 20 and 30 people over multiple hospital runs, he said.
He returned the truck’s keys to the owner Monday night, he said.
2. Army vet Colin Donohue moved others out of the line of fire
Army veteran Colin Donohue (Photo: Facebook.)
His training kicked in as he realized what was happening, and he began to usher others in an attempt to find safety and treat the injured.
“We started taking care of those who are injured. There were a lot of people and it gives me chills because there’s nothing I could do. I’m not a doctor, but you have a lot of people out there helping out,” he told Fox.
3. Marine vet Scott Yarmer evaded gunfire while leading others outWhen Marine Corps vet Scott Yarmer heard the gunfire start, he didn’t freeze or panic as many of the non-vets around him did.
"The second time it did again just 'pop pop pop' and I grabbed my buddy and I was like we got to go and so we started pushing people out trying to get them to get up because people were still just standing I don't know if they thought it was part of the show or what but we were just like get out let's go,” he told Fox31 in Denver.
Yarmer moved people to cover, waited for a break in the shooting, and moved again.
"There's kinda two sides and the right side is over on the side by the strip and that's where the fire was coming from and so everybody on that side went down and I was like no we're going,” he said.
4. Army vet John Tampien moved his group to safety
Army veteran John Tampien, right, at the Las Vegas festival before Sunday's shooting. (Photo: Facebook.)
With deployment experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, Army vet John Tampien, visiting Las Vegas from Oregon, knew to look for shelter for those around him, including his wife and friends.
"We kind of got down and got out of the way over by the bar area. We turned over some tables. We didn't really see any way to tell what was going on. We didn't know if there were shooters outside of the concert," Tampien told KHQ news.
He was able to move his family and friends to safety, but said the incident was unlike anything he’d ever experienced in war.
"I've done a lot of deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and it's kind of different because there was no way to really protect yourself. It's a whole new feeling for me,” he said.
5. Army vet Robert Ledbetter treated the wounded and made a tourniquet with a shirtAfter pushing his wife under bleachers, former Army Ranger Robert Ledbetter, started treating the wounded, using a passerby’s flannel shirt as a tourniquet and giving other first aid, he said.
He wanted to save more people, but couldn’t avoid the barrage of bullets.
“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 told the AP.