The mystery of what happened to a couple of strangers who will forever be linked due to a moment captured by a Getty photographer has been partially solved.
According to David Becker, who snapped the photo amid the bloody carnage in Las Vegas on Sunday, the young man shielding a woman as gunfire rained down around them were able to get away.
“I don’t know if she was injured but he was very clearly shielding her with his body and protecting her,” he said in a statement released to the media. “I saw them both get up and run away.”
Becker described what he witnessed as the horror unfolded around him as gunman Stephen Paddock rained bullets onto a crowd from the Mandalay Bay hotel.
“I went outside to see what was happening and a security guy said it was just ‘firecrackers,’ so I went back to work,” he said. “The second time I heard the popping sounds somebody said to me “it was just speakers or sound equipment” and again, I went back into the media tent and continued to work. Then the noises went again and that was when the crowd started to flee.”
But even then, the photographer didn’t believe anything untoward was happening.
“It was so dark I couldn’t really see what was happening, there were a lot of people crying, speaking on cell phones and ducking for cover,” Becker said.
“As the crowd thinned out I was able to go a little closer to try and see what was going on and take some more pictures, and I’m still thinking to myself, ‘it’s just the speakers, there is nothing going on,'” he said.
“There were groups of people helping each other everywhere and a real sense of people running for cover. People were fleeing, they were panicking.
“The gun fire was sporadic, it would stop and then more shots, then a lull and then more shots. I could hear people yelling at them to shut off the lights, to be quiet.
“People were cowering, they were very fearful for their lives. A woman tripped right in front of me, a man shielded a woman with his body before I saw them both get up and run away, a man in a wheelchair was helped to an exit,” he said.
When he went to check on his photos again he realized what was happening.
“It had been so dark outside I couldn’t see the details, I just saw a lot of people laying on the ground thinking they were playing possum, but now I could see people covered in blood and I thought, this is real,” the photographer said.
“When I saw the image of the woman lying on the ground covered in blood, that was when the impact of what I was experiencing hit; when I realized people were dying.”
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