Brave dad risked his life to save over 30 people in the Las Vegas shooting

In the wake of the tragic event in Las Vegas on Sunday night, we not only remember the 59 people who lost their lives and the hundreds of people who were injured, but we also get a chance to recognize the heroes who selflessly risked their lives to save others.

Jonathan Smith is a 30-year-old copy machine repairman and father of three from Orange County, California. He was in Vegas celebrating his brother’s birthday along with several of his family members. The group was wrapping up their weekend festivities by checking out country singer Jason Aldean’s set as part of the Route 91 Country Music Festival.

Once the music started, gunshots from the adjacent Mandalay Bay rang out. Recalling the incident, Jonathan told the Washington Post that he initially thought (as many in the crowd did) that the shots were actually fireworks. Once he realized they were not, he told his family to run and went in search of his nieces, who got lost in the melee. Along the way, Jonathan helped lead others to safety, helping them hide behind a row of vehicles in a handicapped parking area. As he told the TODAY Show, “I decided I’m not going to leave anybody behind.”

For his efforts, Jonathan was wounded. He recounted his injuries from a gunshot to TODAY, saying, “Basically, the bullet was lodged in my neck right above. It fractured my collarbone, it fractured my second rib, and it bruised my lung.”

Heather Long, a journalist from the Washington Post, shared a photo of Jonathan at Sunrise Hospital that rapidly spread across social media, with people acknowledging his heroic deed. Jonathan, humbly, insists he’s not a hero, telling the Post, “I don’t see myself that way. I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.” He also had his family at the top of his mind, telling TODAY that “I hate the fact that my kids almost lost me. That’s in the back of my head, my kids. My family.” Even after the event, Jonathan remains humble. As he sees it, “Everyone’s saying, dude you’re a hero, you’re this. I’m not a hero. I’m just someone that just basically decided, you know what, I’ll put someone’s life before my own.”

Jonathan is just one of the many heroes who showed their bravery on Sunday night. James Lawson, who was also there that night, used his Army Reserves training as an EMT to help concertgoer Tom McIntosh, who in turn was helping his wife and another female concertgoer to safety and got shot in the leg. James told TODAY that heroes turned up everywhere, asserting, “There was dozens and dozens of other concertgoers doing the same thing. They couldn’t leave anyone behind — they were running back towards the fire to help people. Hundreds of stories like this one.”

Jason Aldean, whose concert was the setting for the horrific event, shared an emotion-filled post on Instagram on Tuesday. He shared the sentiments I’m sure most of us have, stating:

“Over the last 24 hrs I have gone through lots of emotions. Scared, Anger, Heartache, Compassion and many others. I truely dont understand why a person would want to take the life of another. Something has changed in this country and in this world lately that is scary to see. This world is becoming the kind of place i am afraid to raise my children in.”

Over the last 24 hrs I have gone through lots of emotions. Scared, Anger, Heartache, Compassion and many others. I truely dont understand why a person would want to take the life of another. Something has changed in this country and in this world lately that is scary to see. This world is becoming the kind of place i am afraid to raise my children in. At the end of the day we arent Democrats or Republicans, Whites or Blacks, Men or Women. We are all humans and we are all Americans and its time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE! That is the only way we will ever get this Country to be better than it has ever been, but we have a long way to go and we have to start now. My heart aches for the Victims and their families of this Senseless act. I am so sorry for the hurt and pain everyone is feeling right now and there are no words i can say to to take that pain away. Just know u all are in my heart and my prayers as we all go through this together. Time to come together and stop the hate! #stopthehate #prayforlasvegas

A post shared by Jason Aldean (@jasonaldean) on

There are lots of ways to help the victims of this terrible event and their families. There is a GoFundMe set up for Jonathan and his family. Clark County commissioner Steve Sisolak has set up the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund, which has raised over $3.7 million – and is sure to surpass its $4 million goal. Nevada residents are asked to donate blood. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shared some information on donation sites as part of a press release sent out Monday morning.

More importantly, you can contact your local elected officials and congressmen and let them know that our country needs to do more to enact gun control and prevent mass shootings like this one from happening again. Enough is enough. How many more lives need to be lost? Seeing photos and reading about those who needlessly lost their lives on Sunday night truly hurts, but I’m glad heroes like Jonathan and James were there as a beacon of hope that they are still plenty of good people out there.

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Photos via GoFundMe and Getty

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64 Responses to “Brave dad risked his life to save over 30 people in the Las Vegas shooting”

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  1. Maya says:

    People like him and those other heroes are the one who defines majority of USA.

    Not Trump, not Republicans nor their disgusting supporters.

    While there are still good people around, there is still hope for America.

    • kodakay says:

      You are so right! They just jumped in to help without regard to race, creed or color. They are TRUE Americans!

    • Esmom says:

      I wish I could agree. I’m to the point where I feel like the hate and bigotry, while maybe espoused by a minority, is infecting us all. I’m having a really hard time finding any hope at all. Bless Mr Smith and the others who helped in the midst of chaos. But I still can’t help but think of those who won’t lift a finger to get us out of this mess, especially if it pertains to their precious guns.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Esmom,

        It feels like there are more of them than good people because they are so loud and then the bots and Congress. I guess this is the darkness before the light? I hope. But it is getting harder to find things that are positive and life-affirming in the world right now.

  2. Annabelle Bronstein says:

    As Mr. Rogers taught us, “Look for the helpers.” They are always there, lighting the way for us. What a brave man.

    And those are good action steps, Corey. I believe we should be even more specific and advocate to ban the sale of bump stocks.. it is a huge loophole in the ban on automatic weapons, it would’ve made a difference here and we must prevent any copycats.

    • Lavin says:

      Such a wonderful and brave young man. He is hero. Thank you Jonathan Smith.
      You are what makes me Proud to be American. Much Love to him.

    • greenmonster says:

      Annabelle, came here to quote Mr. Rogers as well. It is such a beautiful quote.

  3. Kiki says:

    These are what I called angels. They are not looking for praise or to be a hero. That’s the America I remembered. Help your fellow man and looking out for one another.

    • Lolo86lf says:

      Jonathan Smith is a white lighter, an angel.

      • Annabelle Bronstein says:

        Maybe for every Trump, there’s at least one Jonathan Smith.

      • denisemich says:

        There are many more Trump’s than Jonathan Smith’s. I don’t think Jonathan Smith was even thinking about it. Now, he cries and realizes he could have died. That is truly heroic.

  4. bluhare says:

    I think we all hope we can be a bit like Jonathan. I know I do. But this guy did it. And there he is sitting at the hospital looking like he just tripped over something in the garage.

    He might not think he’s a hero, but he’s a very brave and selfless man.

    • Erinn says:

      This whole story gave me so much hope. This is what a hero is. He’s just some guy who in a terrible situation did whatever he could to help others – even if it meant putting himself at more risk. And even in the aftermath, he just looks so ‘normal’. Like any other person you’d see sitting in an ER waiting to get looked at. He’s not out there making a huge spectacle, he’s not using it as a means to gain fame. This was just a natural reaction for this guy – and the world needs so many more people like that.

      I tend to think there probably are a good deal of people like that out there… but they aren’t doing it for show, and aren’t putting themselves in the spotlight. At least I hope so. Because it’s really bleak to imagine that there are only a couple of people like that out there when there are so many terrible people walking the streets.

      • CynicalAnn says:

        It’s really hard to read the accounts-but there are so many I’ve read about people laying on top of others, helping people over the fence, grabbing people by the hand and dragging them out, putting victims into cars to drive them to the hospitals, doing CPR: strangers helping strangers. It’s the only thing that actually gives me any hope at all. There are so many good people out there willing to literally risk their own lives to help strangers.

    • Seraphina says:

      Bluhare: spot on!

  5. Shambles says:

    Kind, decent, compassionate, humble, badass, handsome.

    Balm for a hurting soul.

    • detritus says:

      Truth. This is what a real man looks like.

      Bilezerian or Brawny mans twerpy brother or whatever, take note.

    • Olenna says:

      Ditto. He displayed uncommon courage–not running for cover, but risking his life to save others. I hope he has a swift recovery.

  6. GD says:

    Looks like they are blaming this tragedy on Valium. Apparently the shooter took antidepressants and became aggressive.
    I’m really sad to hear that, because it’s false. Nobody does this kind of terrible things to people because of antidepressants. And it really doesn’t help mental illness stigma and people with mental illness.

    • emma33 says:

      Just to clarify, valium isn’t an anti-depressant though, it’s a benzodiazepine. Maybe he was taking a combination of an anti-dep with valium? I think some people do react badly to the first month on an anti-dep, their symptoms can become worse, but I don’t think it can lead to this kind of violence. Anything not to blame guns.

    • Rapunzel says:

      Anything to not blame guns.

    • MrsPanda says:

      The shooters father was on the FBI most wanted list and was violent, he was also a classified Psychopath. It’s possible the shooter was a high-functioning sociopath, in which case it really doesn’t take much ”rationale” or motive to do something so abhorrent. I also wonder if he has killed before and got away with it. He seemed intelligent, methodical and high functioning. Medication and/or therapy does nothing for sociopaths, however astute people around him would have seen some warning signs and I think it’s good for us to be more aware of sociopaths as they make up 1-2% of the population and cause so much devastation. Anyway, it is such a tragedy and my heart goes out to everyone impacted by this. Jonathan Smith is my new hero, what an amazing guy!! :)

    • V4Real says:

      Just like I said , a White man shoots up a public venue he’s mentally ill, a brown man shoots up a public venue he’s a Muslin terrorist.

      • MrsPanda says:

        I think it’s a safe assumption that anyone who commits such a heinous act (ISIS or otherwise) is mentally ill or an actual psychopath. Other factors come into it of course, political pressures, gun availability etc but I wish we were better at stopping crazy people before they do things like this. It is so scary.

      • Kath says:

        Not necessarily. We had a siege in Australia by a lone Muslim shooter (Man Monis) who claimed he was acting on behalf of ISIS. It is widely acknowledged that he wasn’t – he was just a garden-variety nutjob with a long history of sociopathic behaviour. The attempt to invoke ISIS (by the guy himself) was dismissed as attention-seeking and pathetic.

    • ORIGINAL T.C. says:

      Valium is a sedative, it puts you to sleep. You can’t even walk to the bathroom. If you take enough of it, it will eventually paralyze your lungs, make you stop breathing and you never wake up. Super depressed people use it and take it with alcohol to commit suicide.

      People starting antidepressants are still depressed with low energy. Once the antidepressants start working you get only enough energy to kill yourself, if you are actively suicidal. You don’t have enough energy (or enough mental focus) to physically or emotionally plan a massacre, drive to the location days ahead of time and be patient enough to wait for the right time.

      Depressed people in general are rarely homocidal. Their focus is internal. It’s angry people or people with a score to settle against some wrong that a boss, co-worker or society has done to them. They might have situational depression but anger is the overriding emotion. And then of course there are the sociopaths who just want to see the world burn.

  7. Lolo86lf says:

    How do you like that Mr. Donald Trump. A black man risked his own like to save other people from a rain of bullets. Jonathan Smith is a hero and he deserves recognition. I can only imagine all the racists nationwide feeling disappointed that a black man did a selfless heroic act. Is Fox News going to broadcast this hero on their network? No, not really.

    • Shambles says:

      #blackexcellence

    • naomipaige says:

      @Lolo86lf:

      Well said!!!! ++++++++1

    • IlsaLund says:

      And it was a black man attending a country music festival. How about that. We aren’t monolithic and come in many shapes, colors and sizes. Our interests are as varied as everyone else’s. But Orange Glow Trump thinks we all live in the ghetto and collect welfare.

      • kodakay says:

        Excellent point! Trump is a moron as Rex Tillerson stated. He LOVES to lump people together based on his limited life lessons or teachable moments. I would feel sorry for his adult children if they weren’t so complicit in his doings.

    • kodakay says:

      Probably not. They’re still pissed that Tillerson called Trump a moron. I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re focused on even as Mueller is trying to drain the swamp of Trump, his family and his cohorts! It’s only a matter of time…

  8. jferber says:

    GOd bless this man. I want to see him interviewed on every news show and every talk show. Then I want him to be an advocate for the good, the just and the decent in humanity, which he clearly represents. He is an emblem of altruism and a beacon of hope for the future. We need this man in these desecrated times. God bless this man.

  9. Beth says:

    He’s an absolute hero, and we need more brave people like him. I wish him the best, and I hope his injuries don’t ever slow him down

  10. naomipaige says:

    Wow! What an amazing person. He is a true hero!

  11. The New Classic says:

    Absolutely amazing. 50+ people slaughtered at his show, and Jason Aldean cannot bring up the topic of gun control. He doesn’t mention it once. If I had lived through that, and had seen my fans murdered in front of me, I would be the first person standing up and demanding stronger gun laws and this coward can’t even bring himself to use the word gun in this post. Reading what he wrote is actually making my blood boil.

  12. Rapunzel says:

    I’m sorry, but I have to say these calls for unity, like Jason Aldean’s, are such a crock. We don’t need unity. We need protection. And we need our law makers to stop putting the NRA. Saying this is about a lack of unity is just ignoring the real issue.

    • IlsaLund says:

      No one needs to own military style assault weapons. You want to own rifles and guns to hunt and shoot at the range. Okay, I’ll give you that. But not these other weapons designed to inflict massive damage and kill as many people as possible,

      • Annabelle Bronstein says:

        I’m totally with you. No civilian even needs a semi automatic gun. There is no sport or skill involved, and no legitimate purpose that couldn’t be accomplished with a safer option.

    • Betsy says:

      Yeah, this.

      I still can’t believe dead kindergarteners didn’t move the needle on that, though, so until acknowledge what the NRA is – a terrorist organization – we aren’t fixing squat.

    • Brunswickstoval says:

      As are the numerous calls for prayer. Maybe because i’m Atheist but what do prayers do? Honestly people need to wake up and do something anything to stop this happening.

      • Artemis says:

        Mm, speak it.
        Jonathan didn’t start praying, he did something to help. I feel like people are quick to mention or turn to a god when the reality is too dark to comprehend. God just received 59 people, prayers are pointless. I don’t believe in a god but I know when a life is lost, it’s out of our hands to do something about it. You can’t change events or reverse death. You can change access to guns. You can change having a competent president.

        What needs to happen on earth, in real life, in the USA (and other politically unstable countries) is action. When is going to be enough? How many more people need to die because of lack of of gun control? Voting and protesting properly is going to achieve more than praying. USA is so backwards it’s mindboggling some people think the Earth revolves around it. WW3 can be a reality if this madness doesn’t stop and once that’s set into motion, I don’t even want to think about it.

        I’m also sick and tired of reading about the people who commit these acts of violence, I really don’t care about their lives. They’re nothing to me, they’re filth but the media is so quick to give them a platform by putting out a mini-biography instead of addressing the real issue: gun control, a crooked government which is eating out of the NRA’s hand. That’s real news. If he’s a sociopath, then what is Trump? He’s trying to kill people with his policies, this gunman is just a cog in a machine. His violence is tangible but so many people are suffering under Trump that too needs to be called out as it’s part of why this gunman will be out of the newscycle as quickly as he entered it but USA will still have a dumb careless criminal for a president. Onto the next tragedy and set of prayers I guess….

    • Megan says:

      The NRA has successfully transformed gun ownership into identify politics. Gun owners think of themselves as a minority that should be a protected.

      Pew recently released an interesting study on gun attitudes in America. 42% of adults live in a house with at least one gun and gun owners are more politically active than non-gun owners. Scary stuff.

      http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2017/06/22/americas-complex-relationship-with-guns/

      • CynicalAnn says:

        The NRA and Fox News are the biggest threats to our country. No more “thoughts and prayers” bullshit.

    • TQB says:

      Yeah, we all need to come together and do what, exactly? Run for cover and hope it’s not us next time?

  13. lucy2 says:

    This man is a hero, no question about it. In the darkest times there are always people who are true lights and remind us of how good humanity can be. I just wish it wouldn’t take horrific things like this to see that.

  14. tifzlan says:

    Bravo to this man for being so selfless, and the others who (re)acted as he did, putting their lives on the line to make sure others are safe.

    On the other hand, i’d like to say to Jason Aldean – THIS ISN’T NEW. “Something” has NOT changed in this country unless you meant that these shootings are getting deadlier and deadlier by the day. Please get your head out of the clouds and realize that this is a problem that has been festering for too long now and unless you’re going to get on the right side, you are complicit in the bloodshed.

  15. poppy says:

    JESUS MORE OF THIS MAN PLEASE.
    MORE JONATHAN SMITHS.
    I AM BEGGING.

  16. IlsaLund says:

    God bless Jonathan and his family. I pray he will have a safe recovery. And a huge thank you to Jonathan for the self less act of compassion and humanity he showed toward others. He set an excellent example for his children.

    But how sad it is that we live in a country that people have to set up go fund me pages to pay for their medical expenses. And many of the victims will most likely be faced with huge medical expenses they might not be able to pay.

    To paraphrase something I read yesterday that is so heart breakingly true: “in America, it’s a right to own a gun, but healthcare is a privilege.” SMDH

  17. Adrien says:

    Meanwhile, macho gunowner Dan Bilzerian snapchatted himself fleeing the scene like a scared rat moments after he saw several people getting shot.
    Get well soon, Jonathan. God bless you.

    • magnoliarose says:

      That guy is a cretin and all things disgusting a man can be. I was surprised he wasn’t covered here today. Lots of talk and misogyny with no bravery or courage. The picture of him grabbing a woman between her legs was nasty as well as his entire IG account.

  18. Angel says:

    Beautiful man, and all the others helping. First time I’ve felt anything but rank sadness and disgust since the shooting.

  19. alexandria says:

    I’m glad Jason Aldean is safe but being personally affected, he should have had seized the platform to talk about gun control. All the rhetoric about praying and unity is not going to change the gun problem. He did not even touch on it in that message (unless he has in other posts). Mentally ill or evil people have always been around. Understand why that killer (a civilian) could kill that many.

  20. Stigma is real says:

    Some comments here about mental illness are disheartening. Don’t assume all “crazy” people are violent. They are in fact more likely to be on the receiving end of violence. Evil doesn’t equal crazy.

  21. Pandy says:

    God bless Jonathan. And the others who were so noble to help bring people to safety.

  22. Beach says:

    He is a very brave young man.

  23. Seraphina says:

    Not many comments here so sad. We should all applaude this young man. THANK YOU! And thank you for showing us an example of humanism and doing what is right! Much love to him is right. May God watch over you.

    • jc126 says:

      Great guy! I’m reading a lot of stories about people like this man, and it’s awesome. I think the good people outnumber the bad.