Jonathan Smith has a relaxed demeanor in the photo above, as if he wasn’t in the the throes of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The 30-year-old’s image was seen all over social media Monday (Oct. 2), with a heartwarming story to match.
The Washington Post shared Smith’s story, a California native like many others who attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival to enjoy good music and performances from the world of country music. Smith attended the festival for his brother’s 43rd birthday and seven other members of their family.
When bullets began to fly across the festival grounds by gunman Stephen Paddock, Smith quickly gathered his family and other bewildered concert goers, directing them to an area away from the gunfire.
After he helped a group of young women find a safe spot to hide in a handicapped parking lot, he was struck in the neck. A man who he believes was an off-duty police officer tried to stop the bleeding. He and and a few other injured victims were then taken to the hospital in a pickup truck.
In addition to his neck injury, he is also facing a fractured collarbone, a cracked rib and a bruised lung.
“I couldn’t feel anything in my neck. There was a warm sensation in my arm,” Smith said. Because of the severity of the bullet’s location doctors are worried if they remove it, more damage will be on the horizon. “I might have to live with this bullet for the rest of my life,” he added.
While the copy machine repairman may not see himself as a hero, many do.
“I don’t see myself that way,” he said. “I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.”
An image taken of Smith at the lobby of Sunrise Hospital was picked up Twitter, where it was shared over 100,000 times.
Jonathan Smith, 30, saved ~30 people last night before he was shot in the neck. He might live w/the bullet for rest of his life. #vegasstrip pic.twitter.com/6hLujXWe51
— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) October 2, 2017
In total, 59 people died and over 500 were injured. A GoFundMe supporting the victims has raised $3.2 million, with a $50,000 donation from the Oakland Raiders.
UPDATE: 10/6/17 7:18 PM EST
A separate GoFundMe has been created by Jonathan’s sister-in-law to cover medical expenses. The campaign has raised an astonishing $78,000, far more than the initial $7,000 goal.