Couple faces fears after Vegas
Just one week after the deadliest mass shooting in America, one Fredericksburg resident is still shook.
Jen Schriewer and her husband, Chase, made plans in February to travel to Las Vegas for the first time with a group of friends from British Columbia.
They were excited to attend the Route 91 Harvest Festival and listen to country artists throughout the weekend. The Schriewers were one of two Fredericksburg couples to attend, including Mike and Kristin McKinnon, profiled in last week’s newspaper.
“We had never been to Vegas before so I was excited to see what it was all about,” she said.
While no one can predict a mass shooting, Jen said her husband had some hesitation when attending the first night of the event.
“Chase told me he felt a little paranoid because of the recent history of shootings but I told him I felt safe because we were going to be out in the open and not a confined space with small exits,” she said.
“No one expected it to happen.”
Before heading to the Sunday night concert finale, the group spent the day at the Mandalay Bay.
Jen said she wanted to be sure the group got to attend the Josh Abbott Band portion so her Canadian friends could experience a Texas country artist.
“Honestly, it was disappointing and the acts that followed were disappointing compared to the two previous nights,” she said. “Before Jason Aldean, I asked my husband if he wanted to leave and go back and he said no we would stick it out.”
So Jen and her friends got up and started dancing to make the most of their last night.
During the second song, she and Chase made their way to the restroom and drink vendor tents.
“When I got out of the restroom I heard the first round of shots and when I looked up at the sky, because I thought it was fireworks, I saw nothing,” she said. “I knew it had to be fireworks or shots because it was too rapid succession.”
Her heart sank.
When the second round started, they heard the music stop, and people started screaming.
In order to get out of the venue, they had to make their way back to the stage where people were.
“At first, we thought the shots were coming from a second-story dance floor, because it sounded it like it was elevated so we ran and dodged from one structure to another,” Jen said. “There was really no cover so people were running and sprinting from one makeshift cover to another.”
In the moment
Chase, the program director for Air Evac 48 in Kerrville, was instructing people to stay down to keep safe.
“The only thing I remember thinking about was that my husband is tall and usually that is how I find him in a crowd of people,” she said. “I was terrified that he was tall and all I wanted was for him to get down.”
Jen had no idea no how long all of this took place, it was just a matter of running from one place to another.
In the end, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 with his arsenal of weapons he had taken to his 32nd-floor room. It was the deadliest modern shooting rampage in U.S. history.
When the couple arrived at the airport early Monday morning, they were still in shock.
“We were in shock. We didn’t want to leave our friends from Canada,” Schriewer said. “No one can comprehend and understand this and that is really frustrating.”
Now, the couple is feeling more frustration and hopelessness.
“There were no divides between these concert goers, everyone was trying to get everyone out,” she said. “No one cares in that situation and it’s frustrating we can’t come together after that and prevent this from happening again.”
As Jen and Chase are back into their normal routine, Jen has made a list of the songs she heard and the events during the shooting so she can face her new fear.
“Anytime there is a crowd, I am now very hesitant and hypersensitive to noise,” she said. “As ridiculous as this sounds, I don’t know that I can even look at a porta-potty the same way.”
Jen and Chase have plans to be with their Canadian friends in three weeks to be there for each other and cope.