CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Witnesses have described it as a scene that resembled a horror movie.
The Las Vegas massacre was a chaotic scene on the popular Strip, causing people at the Route 51 country concert to run for their lives. But inside the Mandalay Bay hotel, Lucas Bruch says it didn’t take long to recognize what unfolded.
“This is gunfire,” the Lenoir native recalled to NBC Charlotte.
Bruch was in Las Vegas for work, staying on the 11th floor of the hotel, just 21 floors below the gunman.
When asked if he was ever afraid for his life, Bruch replied, "Absolutely."
“There was a time when the hotel management didn’t really know what to do," Bruch said.
Coincidentally, Bruch was outside the hotel taking pictures when the shots began ringing toward to the country concert.
“As soon as I heard the automatic gunfire start, I shifted to my left and hid behind an SUV [that was parked] under the roof of the awning at Mandalay Bay,” Bruch recalled of the chaotic scene. “I just kept an eye on the [shooter’s] window and I urged all those around me to come where I was because there were cab drivers just standing out in the road.”
The shots that rang for minutes felt like an eternity. The death toll stands at 59, with more than 520 people injured.
Bruch said he tried to call 911 and alert the authorities of the shooter’s location but because of the influx of calls, he couldn’t get through.
“It was about five minutes after the shooting stopped when the SWAT team moved in and started to infiltrate the building," he said.
With the shooting ceased and questions unanswered, hotel guests were evacuated with nowhere to go.
Lucas said that’s when he realized despite the heinous act, the world is still full of good people.
“I spent the night on the floor of a gas station because I had nowhere to go and I had somebody give me five dollars because I had no money, my wallet was back in the room.”
After a few days away, Lucas is set to arrive back home Tuesday night. He says there’s no doubt, he returns with a new appreciation for life.