Local woman survives Las Vegas shooting and shelters others in h - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Local woman survives Las Vegas shooting and shelters others in hotel room

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Many Central Coast residents were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when shots rang out on Sunday.

Kelsey Hitchen, an Arroyo Grande native and Cal Poly graduate, along with her boyfriend, Chris, were not only able to get out of the concert venue safely but helped shelter seven strangers in their hotel room after the gunfire. 

After diving for cover, climbing over spiked fences and running for what felt like forever, Hitchen says she was able to get away with just a few bruises. 

"That's one of my boyfriend's and my favorite things, live country music, so we go to a lot of concerts together, so this was really exciting and special to do together," Hitchen said.

She was still wearing the concert wristband on Wednesday.

"I'm just not ready to take it off," she said. "It's kind of a reminder of the 58 lives that were lost."

Hitchen and her friends had been enjoying the concert before the sound of bullets stopped the music.
"You just hear a long stream of bullets super fast, and then a pause, and then it would go again," she said.
Hitchen says they dove under a bar for protection before beginning to run again with the masses of people. 

"People are just yelling, 'Get down, get down, keep moving!' Some people were so scared they were just too terrified to move," she said. 

After climbing and sprinting, Kelsey and Chris made it to their hotel room with seven other people. 

"We just tried to cram as many people in the elevator and we let as many people into our room as possible," Hitchen said. 

But the thing that she believes saved their lives... "I had specifically asked for a snack after the Jake Owen concert."

And by moving locations to get that snack, it removed them from the gunfire.

"That snack probably saved our lives," Hitchen said. 

Then in the airport, on their way home, another reminder printed on a napkin: "It was a napkin and it said 'Life's Better with Snacks.'" 

Hitchen and her boyfriend are now back home safe, but both continue to wear those wristbands as a reminder of the victims and their families.

Kelsey Hitchen and her boyfriend at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy Kelsey Hitchen)

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