Anchorage

2 Alaskans killed, 1 wounded in mass shooting at Las Vegas music fest

Dorene Anderson.   (Courtesy Anderson family)

Two Anchorage residents were killed and a North Pole man was injured in the mass shooting Sunday at a Las Vegas country music festival, friends and relatives said Monday.

Adrian Murfitt, 35, was a victim of the Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, Oct.1 , 2017. He made this selfie at the Oct. 1 concert. (Courtesy Avonna Murfitt)

Adrian Murfitt, a 35-year-old Anchorage commercial fisherman, was killed when a bullet hit his neck, said a friend, Brian MacKinnon, who held Murfitt as he died.

Dorene Anderson, a recent treasurer of an Anchorage hockey booster club called the "Cowbell Crew," who described herself on social media as a stay-at-home mother, also died in the shootings, according to Facebook posts from friends and a daughter.

And Rob McIntosh, a 52-year-old real estate agent from North Pole, was shot several times in the chest and arm, though he was expected to make a full recovery, his wife and daughter said in a phone interview Monday.

"My dad said it was terrible — it was like a movie," said McIntosh's 24-year-old daughter, Sydney.

Authorities in Las Vegas had not released a list of victims' names late Monday.

But the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival drew a "little city" of Anchorage residents, said Murfitt's mother, Avonna Murfitt. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said on Facebook that a niece, Audra McCann of Valdez, was at the outdoor concert when the shooting took place.

At least two Alaskans from the Interior attended as well — McIntosh and his friend Mike Cronk, a 48-year-old retired teacher from Tok.

"When we were in the crowds we would hear people say, 'Oh, I'm a teacher from Wasilla,' or 'I'm here from Alaska.' You could tell a lot of people had traveled down," McCann said in a phone interview Monday.

Authorities identified the gunman as Stephen C. Paddock, 64, who was reported to have sprayed bullets at the crowd from a room high in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. At least 59 people were reported killed as of late Monday.

McCann, 34, said she'd been at a concert at a different stage earlier in the evening, which meant that she and her boyfriend, Derek Barickman, were at the back of the huge crowd listening to country singer Jason Aldean.

She described initially hearing a couple of muffled pops coming from closer to the stage that sounded like a toy or fireworks. But then the sound changed into louder and more consistent fire from what sounded "like an automatic weapon."

Barickman threw himself on top of her, and "we could feel shots and wind just blowing past us, just hitting next to us," McCann said. "And then all of a sudden the firing stopped and everyone around us was like, 'Get up! You have to run.' "

"Thought it was firecrackers, and the second round of gunshots — you heard the gunfire, and then you hear the bullets hit the ground, and metal and people and stuff," MacKinnon said in a phone interview Monday morning from Las Vegas.

Murfitt and MacKinnon, who described the two as best friends, were taking a picture together when a bullet "went through his neck," MacKinnon said. Another bullet that seemed to ricochet up from the ground hit the brim of MacKinnon's own hat, he added.

"There's a lot of amazing people — there was nurses, doctors, firemen. Everybody who was at that concert really jumped on it, did everything they could. We just couldn't save him," MacKinnon said.

"Sadly, he died in my arms," MacKinnon wrote in a Facebook post.

Birthday trip

McIntosh, the North Pole real estate agent, took at least three bullets to the chest and one in his arm, though at least one shot was blocked by a rib, his family said.

Cronk, who played basketball with McIntosh at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, told ABC News that he almost immediately recognized the sound of gunfire as automatic once it started.

He was at the concert on a birthday trip.

"Just pretty horrific," Cronk recalled later in a live interview with ABC host George Stephanopoulos.

A small group of people hunkered down with McIntosh and other gunshot victims for at least 10 minutes before they decided to move behind the cover of the concert stage, Cronk told another ABC reporter. He and three other men hauled McIntosh over a fence to get there.

Cronk said he stabilized his friend by putting compression on his wounds; McIntosh actually put his own finger in one bullet hole. The group then tried to get to a hospital in the bed of a pickup truck.

Cronk said he helped one injured man into the truck, only to have him die in his arms.

McIntosh's daughter Sydney, in North Pole at the time of the concert, learned of the shooting almost immediately from posts on Twitter and called her dad's phone. Cronk answered — from an ambulance. Cronk told McIntosh that her father had been shot.

Rob McIntosh called his family twice before surgery. He remained there for hours overnight and was undergoing another procedure around noon Monday, his wife said.

The family planned to fly to Las Vegas on Monday evening.

'It was unreal'

McCann said she and her boyfriend ran from the concert without any idea of where they were going, zig-zagging behind vendors amid the "constant" sound of gunfire.

They went through a side door of a building into what seemed like a staff hallway, then, when someone ran inside warning of a "shooter," kept going through a tunnel and a hole in a wall. They ended up with another dozen people in what appeared to be a little-used basement, with "exposed pipes" and "rat traps everywhere."

"We had no idea where we were," McCann said.

There was a pregnant woman and people with torn clothes, marred with dirt and blood. They had no idea what was happening outside, but could hear "running and screaming" and sirens above them, she said.

"It was horrible — especially because we thought that a shooter had come in behind us and was in the building," said McCann. A few more people ultimately joined the group in the basement and said they'd heard there were shooters inside the casinos.

The group formed a little prayer circle and the men equipped themselves with makeshift weapons — pipes and wrenches — in case "someone came down there," McCann said.

The group stayed in the basement, which turned out to be at a resort near the concert, the Tropicana, for more than an hour before they learned it was safe to move. But then they couldn't leave the Tropicana, which was locked down, for another five hours, and McCann and Barickman barely made their flight out of Las Vegas on Monday morning.

Nonetheless, McCann said she felt "so thankful and so lucky."

"We started playing the 'What if?' game and so many different things could have happened if we'd been stepped on or closer to the stage," said McCann, who was on a work layover near Seattle on her way home. "Our heart just breaks for everyone that doesn't get to go home tonight, or see their families or tell them they're okay."

'Saint of a person'

Anderson, the hockey booster and mother from Anchorage, was "one of the victims who did not make it," wrote a daughter, Stefanie Anderson, in a Facebook post.

Dorene Anderson. (Courtesy Marie English)

Stefanie Anderson declined to comment, but the post rippled through Anchorage and set off a deluge of sympathetic responses, including on the fan page of the now-defunct Alaska Aces hockey team.

Dorene Anderson was treasurer last winter of a nonprofit hockey organization called the "Cowbell Crew," said Marie English, the group's secretary. The group supports the sport at all levels, from youth leagues to the Aces, and hockey was one of Anderson's favorite things outside her family, English said.

"She was friendly to everybody. She had a heart of gold. She was just an all-around, wonderful Alaskan," English said in a phone interview.

"Dorene Anderson was a saint of person," D.J. Fauske, a longtime friend whose father, Dan Fauske, worked with Anderson's husband at the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., wrote in a Facebook post. "I've watched her daughters grow up to become amazing women and I know they will continue their mom's lasting legacy."

No contact

Avonna Murfitt, Adrian's mother, said Monday morning that she was still trying to find out where her son's body is and hadn't been contacted by the Red Cross or police. She found out what happened only after reaching MacKinnon, she said.

"He said he just didn't have the heart to tell me," Avonna Murfitt said. "I kind of forced him into it."

Adrian Murfitt played hockey at Dimond High School, his mother said. He'd just finished a summer of commercial fishing in Chignik, on the Alaska Peninsula, on a boat called the Mary Jane, she added.

Adrian Murfitt, 35, was a victim of the Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, Oct.1 , 2017. He fished in summer 2017 in Chignik. (Courtesy Avonna Murfitt)

"One of the best years they've ever had," she said.
MacKinnon said Murfitt had flown him to Las Vegas for Sunday night's concert.

They were sitting at an Anchorage sports bar three weeks ago and talking about it, and MacKinnon told Murfitt that he wasn't going. But when MacKinnon returned from a trip to the bathroom, "he showed me the phone and he'd already bought tickets, and he was like, 'You're going,' " MacKinnon said. "I was like, 'I'm going.' "

On Sunday, MacKinnon said authorities had to talk him into leaving Murfitt's body as the shooting continued.

"I just got up and kept looking around — there was just bodies everywhere," MacKinnon said.

He and a group of others were rushed into the basement of the Tropicana before he eventually was allowed to return to his hotel room.

Victim of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Adrian Murfitt, is seen in this undated social media photo obtained by Reuters October 2, 2017. Social media/Handout via REUTERS

Asked to describe Murfitt, MacKinnon said he "pretty much is the best dude, ever."

"He was always happy. He was always there for his friends," MacKinnon said. "He was always down to help you with a project. He was smart, talented, funny as hell. He was just a top-notch friend."