Anchorage commercial fisherman among those killed in Las Vegas massacre

UPDATED STORY: 2 Alaskans killed, at least 1 wounded in Las Vegas mass shooting.


An Anchorage commercial fisherman, 35-year-old Adrian Murfitt, was among the dozens of people killed in the mass shooting Sunday at a Las Vegas music festival.

Brian MacKinnon said he was at the concert by country singer Jason Aldean with Murfitt, his best friend, when the shooting started and a bullet hit Murfitt.

"We were taking a picture and it went through his neck," said MacKinnon, who's also from Anchorage, in a phone interview from Las Vegas. "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."

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

[Thousands fled the hail of gunfire in Las Vegas. These people stayed to try to save lives.]


MacKinnon said a ricocheted bullet also hit the brim of his own hat, knocking it upward and off his head.

The two men were part of a "little city" of Anchorage residents attending the Las Vegas festival, said Avonna Murfitt, Adrian's mother.

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

Posted by Adrian Murfitt on Thursday, September 7, 2017

"One of the best years they've ever had," she said.

MacKinnon said he and Murfitt had flown 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 said he wasn't going. But when he returned from a trip to the bathroom, Murfitt had purchased plane tickets.

"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.' "

The two men were in front of the stage Sunday when MacKinnon said he started hearing gunshots.

Posted by Brian MacKinnon on Monday, October 2, 2017

"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.

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, another resort nearby, before eventually he was allowed to return to his hotel room.

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

Authorities identified the gunman, who reportedly killed at least 58 people, as Stephen C. Paddock. Alaska officials said a man with the same name had obtained two Alaska nonresident sportfishing licenses, in 2009 and 2010.

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."

Nathaniel Herz

Anchorage-based independent journalist Nathaniel Herz has been a reporter in Alaska for nearly a decade, with stints at the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Media. Read his newsletter, Northern Journal, at