EVERETT — Rachael Bowker was in her 27th-floor room at the MGM Grand Las Vegas Hotel &Casino when Sunday night’s mass shooting occurred.
The Everett woman and a friend spent the night in their room, with their hotel locked down, watching horrific news on TV.
Her friend Lynn Hansen, from Marysville, was in the MGM lobby during the attack.
“Lynn came running up with tears in her eyes,” Bowker, 48, said Monday morning by phone from Las Vegas. Her friend had heard someone say, erroneously, that gunshots had been fired at the MGM.
That was about 10:30 p.m. In their room, the women turned on the news and were stunned by reports of the shooting. The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, from which the shooter fired hundreds of shots, is across the street from the MGM where the Snohomish County women are staying.
They did not go to Jason Aldean’s concert at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a country music event. Bowker said that Stephen Williams, of Mukilteo, one of her co-workers at YP, was at the concert and saw victims.
Eric Hicks, a longtime former Everett firefighter who served as fire chief earlier this year, was in town with his wife. They were planning to spend time on the strip but got burgers and turned in instead, he said. Family started calling at 3 a.m., to make sure they were OK.
Snohomish’s Simply Sweet Cupcakes posted on social media that staff were thankful for the safety of their coworker, who was in Las Vegas. The employee has asked for privacy, the owner said in an email.
A Marysville Pilchuck High School graduate, who now lives in Seattle, reported being in lockdown for five hours at Planet Hollywood, a few blocks from the scene. He and Hicks both used Facebook’s “check-in” tool to reassure family and friends.
Edmonds-area attorney Colin McMahon also was at Planet Hollywood.
“Chaos and panic,” he said in a message to The Herald. “We took refuge in a hall upstairs we chose at random before they evacuated the casino floor.”
Bowker and Hansen, 46, learned the MGM was on lock down from TV reports. Bowker, who worked as a multimedia sales consultant for The Daily Herald from 2011 to 2016, said she didn’t hear the gunshots, but could hear helicopters and sirens all night long.
“Nobody wanted to go in the lobby, we didn’t feel safe going down there,” she said.
From their room, they did not have a view of what they learned was the shooter’s location at the Mandalay Bay.
Bowker’s sons, Jordan and Cash Hatem, were in Everett, and their mom was in contact with them Sunday night. Jordan is a senior at Everett High School, and Cash attends Everett Community College.
By Monday morning, the women had gone out for breakfast and were looking into donating blood.
“It’s very somber, and there’s added security everywhere,” she said. Guests at the MGM Grand were being required to show room keys to take elevators upstairs.
On the street, they could see a big reader board at the New York-New York Hotel &Casino with information on blood donation and a phone number, 866-535-5654, for help in locating family members.
“It’s just a really different feel here right now,” said Bowker, who has often visited Las Vegas. “Everyone’s devastated.”
A Lummi Nation tribal member was among those wounded Sunday night.
Melinda Brockie was in stable condition and recovering at the hospital Monday afternoon, according to the tribe’s chairman, Tim Ballew.
“Our hearts and prayers are with her and her family and all the victims of the shooting,” Ballew said.
She is the wife of Lummi Indian Business Council member Travis Brockie and accompanied him to Las Vegas where he planned to take part in a major gaming convention this week.
Brian Cladoosbychairman of the Swinomish Tribe, was in Las Vegas for the same event. He said Monday he’d spent most of the night at the hospital as he and her husband are “really good friends.”
“Thank God that Melinda is going to recover,” he said. “The thought that 58 individuals will never be able to be with their loved ones again is so sad.”
The American Red Cross office in Everett received a steady stream of calls Monday morning.
They were told about the chapter’s next blood drive Nov. 2.
“A lot of folks are calling us wanting to know about blood donation, perhaps more so on this one given the horrific nature of what happened last night,” Chuck Morrison, executive director of the Red Cross in Snohomish County, said Monday.
Talk to us
- You can tell us about news and ask us about our journalism by emailing email@example.com or by calling 425-339-3428.
- If you have an opinion you wish to share for publication, send a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to The Daily Herald, Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206.
- More contact information is here.