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The Morning Hustle

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‘Oh God, this is real’: UNLV student describes being at ‘ground zero’ of campus shooting

Written by on December 7, 2023

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(LAS VEGAS) — First year University of Nevada, Las Vegas student Brayden McDermott said he was at “ground zero,” or the Beam Hall building, when Wednesday’s shooting broke out and said an alarm started going off.

“We were confused what was going on because a lot of us were first years, we didn’t know that this is what it sounded like, this is what this was,” said McDermott. “Then all of us just heard somebody scream like … there’s a gun.”

“And everybody starts running in the opposite direction,” said McDermott, who was running from the second floor of the building. “I nearly got trampled, like some girl fell over herself going down the stairs. And I, we don’t know everything that happens. It’s awful.”

McDermott clarified he did not hear any gunshots but sprinted out of the building once he heard someone say there was a gun.

“I’m panicking. My lungs are burning,” said McDermott.

Was he worried he’d be shot?

“Exactly,” he said, adding, “Like I didn’t even know like what kind of hardware these guys had. Like, just to put it bluntly, and like I was terrified. Because like a gunshot is a gunshot, it hurts either way.”

McDermott said he was an out-of-state student from Texas so therefore, he wasn’t able to go home in the aftermath of the shooting. He and hundreds of other students waited for nearly eight hours at the Thomas and Mack Center during the aftermath of the shooting, until the dorms opened up again.

“I don’t mean this to sound callous or harsh but like, this has happened so much. People don’t care anymore and that is a shame,” said McDermott.

He also said he wasn’t surprised that the shooting occurred given how frequent they occur throughout the U.S.

”No one is untouchable,” said McDermott. “And if anywhere was untouchable, we’d all be living there.”

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