Johnsonburg woman shares scary account of surviving Las Vegas shooting

Larry McGuire

LAS VEGAS — Many people awoke on Monday morning to find wall to wall coverage on television and social media of yet another horrific act, this time in Las Vegas, where a gunman opened fire during the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. Country music artist Jason Aldean was performing when the gunfire erupted, causing the more-than 30,000 people to panic and attempt to run to safety.

Shannon Monoskey, a resident of the Punxsutawney area, more specifically, Johnsonburg, was at that concert, right up front by the stage, when the shooting began. Shannon said in an interview from Las Vegas that she likes to travel alone and has been to Las Vegas many times, not for the gambling, but just for the atmosphere and fun of being there.

“I come here a lot for vacation; one of the reasons is the low airfares,” Shannon said, adding that she enjoys horses and likes attending the National Finals Rodeo, which is held every December in Las Vegas. She had tickets for the last day of the Harvest Music Festival and had been there all day since 2 p.m.

She said Jason Aldean was the last act of the day when they began to hear what many thought were fireworks at first. “We heard it and thought it was fireworks and the notion that someone was actually shooting at them was the last thing on our minds,” she said. “Jason Aldean had his back to the shooter, and the audience was facing in the shooter’s direction.”

She said that all of a sudden, she was on the ground and people were lying on top of her as they began to run away. “I still thought maybe it was a recording of gun shots, but then I turned around and there were people behind me that were laying on the ground bleeding, and I began to realize this was real, and I wasn’t sure if I should run or not to, so I ducked down below the stage,” she said. “I was in the second row; that was the scariest decision I’ve ever had to make, so I decided to run.”

Shannon said she had been recording the concert on her phone and just kept recording when she started to run. “I thought about whether or not I should keep recording, but if I died, I wanted my parents to know what happened to me,” she said. “I stopped recording because I needed to hear my parents’ voice, because there wasn’t one minute while I was there that I thought I was going to make it out alive.”

Shannon said she kept praying that she wouldn’t get hit. “I didn’t like my chances running; there were 30,000 people there, and many of them looked athletic and were running, and I’m not a runner, plus I was wearing cowboy boots ... when you’re running for your life, you can’t believe how fast you can run, even in cowboy boots.”

She said as she ran she had her mother, Monica Monoskey, on the phone the whole time after she quit shooting video. “I didn’t think I was going to make it out, and I wanted her voice to be the last one that I heard,” Shannon said, adding that her father works away, and she had to hang up and call him.

Shannon said that as she continued to run, she approached a building and thought she could get in, but it was locked down. “We all thought there was more than one shooter as we heard the gunshots echo through the concert area,” she said. “I came upon an apartment complex, which was kind of open, and I was worried about the shooter coming into it and shooting us.”

She said, thankfully, there was a man at the concert who had a condo, and he took about 40 people into it, including Shannon. “I told my parents, thank God I didn’t have any alcohol to drink; if I had, I wouldn’t be able to run,” Shannon said, adding that in the condo there were many people who were in various stages of being ill because they had been drinking.

She said there was one girl who had fallen and broken her wrist while she was running and the bone was sticking out of the skin. “The whole time, I was praying for God to get me through this and keep me and the others around me safe,” she said. “I survived the concert and thankfully made it out.”

Shannon said afterward she felt anger toward the shooter and wondered what could possibly justify him doing this to everyone. “You think first that it’s terrorists; you don’t expect a 64-year-old retired guy to be shooting at you for no real reason in what is being called the largest mass shooting in U.S. history,” Shannon said. “When you’re running and someone is shooting at you, you think your life is over.”

She said she texted all her fiends and told them goodbye. “They kept telling me that I was going to make it out alive,” Shannon said. “I even told my parents all of my passwords on my phone in case something happened to me, so they could access all my pictures and my accounts. They told me to quit talking like that.”

Shannon said her dad kept her going while her mom was crying with her. “When you’re telling someone goodbye, there’s so many things that you want to say, and you can’t get them out, and the only thing you can is that I love you,” Shannon said, while sobbing.

She said being the optimist that she is, she’ll come back to Vegas again, maybe this year, because she still loves it. “Since God let me survive this horrific ordeal, I figure that he must have bigger plans for me,” Shannon said.

Meanwhile, Monica wanted to thank everyone who called her and for caring so much about Shannon and what she means to them.