Jonathan Smith is being hailed as a hero for his actions after the Las Vegas shooting late Sunday night. The 30-year-old father of three is being credited with saving the lives of 30 people, even though he was shot himself. Smith will likely have a bullet in the left side of his neck for the rest of his life.
The shooting happened late Sunday, during the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival. At least 59 people were killed and over 500 injured when Stephen Paddock opened fire from his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino across the street.
Washington Post reporter Heather Long’s photo of Smith, showing him with a bandage on his shoulder while sitting in a Las Vegas hospital, has gone viral. The tweet has over 122,000 retweets and was shared on Reddit.
Here’s what you need to know about Smith’s heroic story.
1. Smith Is Credited With Saving 30 People at the Festival
Long tweeted that Smith “saved ~30 people last night before he was shot in the neck.”
In his interview with the Washington Post, Smith said he just grabbed people and asked them to follow him to a handicapped parking area, where there were several rows of parked vehicles. Smith told them to crouch behind the last row of cars.
“I got a few people out of there,” Smith told the Post. “You could hear the shots. It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard.”
When he saw that there were some girls who were not fully behind the vehicles, he sacrificed his own safety. He stood up, ran over to them to make sure they got on the ground. At that moment, he was struck by a bullet in the neck.
Smith was taken to Sunrise Hospital for treatment.
Although he’s being called a hero, Smith told the Post that he doesn’t see himself as one. “I don’t see myself that way,” he told the Post. “I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.”
“I don’t deem myself as a hero,” Smith told ABC News. “I just deem myself as someone that was doing the right thing.”
2. He Was at the Festival to Celebrate His Brother’s Birthday With His Nieces
Smith was at the festival with his brother, Louis Rust, who was celebrating his 43rd birthday. They drove from Orange County, California with Smith’s nieces, who are 22, 18 and 17 years old.
Smith told the Post that he first mistook the gunshots fir fireworks, which is what many other witnesses have said. But when the family saw singer Jason Aldean running off the stage, they knew something was up.
Smith looked for his nieces, then yelled, “Active shooter, active shooter, let’s go! We have to run.”
The family got separated during the confusion, but the Post reports that they later reunited. His family survived the shooting.
3. He Will Likely Have a Bullet in His Neck for the Rest of His Life
“I decided I wasn’t going to leave anybody behind,” Smith told NBC News. “I didn’t want to die here.”
Smith told the Post when he was shot, he lost feeling in his neck and had a “warm sensation in my arm.”
He suffered a fractured collarbone, a bruised lung and a cracked rib. The Post reports that his doctors believe removing it could cause more damage, so it will remain in his neck.
“I might have to live with this bullet for the rest of my life,” Smith told the Post while still in pain.
Smith credited an off-duty San Diego police officer with saving his life. Another driver in a pickup truck saw the two and picked them up to take Smith to a hospital.
4. A GoFundMe Account Has Raised Over $19,000 to Help Smith
Tiffany M. Jones launched a GoFundMe page to help Smith pay for medical expenses. In 18 hours, over 560 donors have helped raise over $19,400. Her goal was only set at $7,000.
Jones wrote that she is the sister of Smith’s longtime girlfriend Crystal Jones, adding that Smith, Crystan and their three children live in Buena Park, California. Smith is a copy-machine repairman.
“Jonathan Smith is a loving father of 3 children, Jonathan Jr, Jayden Starr and Julian,” Jones wrote. “He is currently unable to support his family as a result of this horrible event as his body requires time to heal from such an injury. In addition to this, he will need to pay medical expenses – much of which will need to come out of pocket.”
Jones continued, “With Jonathan as the beneficiary to this campaign, he will have direct access to all donations. Our family is so blessed to have someone so heroic and selfless putting the lives of others before his own.”
The largest single donation came from an anonymous donor who donated $500.
5. Smith Survived the Deadliest Mass Shooting in Modern U.S. History
Smith survived the deadliest mass shooting modern U.S. history. It happened 15 months after the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando, where 49 people were killed.
The motive for the Las Vegas shooting is still unknown. Authorities say that Paddock was found dead with 23 guns in his Mandalay Bay hotel room. According to the New York Times, investigators found another 19 firearms at his Mesquite, Nevada home, as well as “some explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo.”
President Donald Trump will be visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday.