KINGMAN – Hundreds, if not thousands, of bullets can’t make them give up hope.
Michael Crocker, of Kingman, and his friend Emilie Husselt, of Phoenix, got out of the line of fire Sunday at the country music festival in Las Vegas. Twelve hours later, they were talking about hope.
“Less than 12 hours after the shots were fired and we saw people lose their lives, we talked about being there next year,” Crocker told the Daily Miner Tuesday. “This was one human being, one individual who was pulling a trigger and making the decision to kill others. But I was surrounded by people who represented the best of humanity. We will not let one person detract us from events like this.”
The second volley of bullets was when it began to dawn on Crocker, 31, and Husselt, 25, that it was a shooter, but they thought the shooter was in the crowd.
The pair was led by a former U.S. Marine who was giving directions to the group of people who had found refuge under the stage to get to the backstage area.
“The same people who were telling us how to escape could have selfishly gone by themselves,” Crocker said. “They took us with them.”
Crocker and Husselt spent the concert 15 feet from the stage, which gave them the chance to climb over the barricade to get underneath. They gave up their shirts to help a victim who was shot in the leg and made their way to Hooters Casino Hotel. They spent the night on the casino floor there.
The next morning they were informed it was over and they could go pick up their car and begin making the drive back to Kingman. In order to do that, they had to revisit the scene. “Our car was between the Luxor and Mandalay Bay,” Crocker said. “We could see the window where the shooter shot from. We saw the direct line of fire he had to where we were standing less than 12 hours before. The thought could have been ‘I’ll never put myself in that situation again.’”
Crocker, a Mohave County attorney, went to work Tuesday. He makes numerous trips from his office across the street to the courthouse, where the flag flies at half-mast.
“Every time I walked across the street, I knew why the flag was at half-mast,” he said.
Crocker added that his first day back to work was different. There wasn’t much sleep for him and Husselt Monday, and they spent much of the day checking in with people and letting them know they were OK. Husselt returned to Phoenix Tuesday.
“We can start processing what we went through,” Crocker said.
His brother is a combat veteran who advised him to focus on the good. For Crocker and Husselt, that’s what they need to do. It’s also what those who weren’t there need, too.
“We made new friends with people who shared things like drinks and snacks throughout the concert,” Crocker said. “We refuse to let one human take that away from us. It won’t affect us, and we’ll be at more events like this one.
“We won’t give one human that power.”