Just before the chaos started Sunday night, Joe and Valerie Yankus had the best seat in the house. They had a media pass, and were stage side, covering what has become their passion.
When gunfire broke out, they were feet away. At first, they thought it was part of the show.
“She said, what’s that noise? I said, Jason Aldean had done the concert previously, and had done pyrotechnics. I said, it’s just Jason probably setting off his pyrotechnics,” Joe said.
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Of course, that wasn’t the case.
The Yankus’s were in a media tent. Joe lifted the tent wall, and they made a run for it.
“I lifted up the back tent, let everybody get out and after that, we were just trying to find our way out,” he said.
For a time during the nine minutes of gunfire, Joe and Valerie hid under a semi truck, then made it to a dumpster.
“There were people jumping in the dumpsters with garbage. There were people taking the garbage out to make way for all of us to get into the dumpsters because it was safer,” Valerie said.
Many of those with them had already been wounded, bleeding, running for blocks.
“I don’t know how these injured people they ran as far as they did to get out of there,” Valerie said. “One of them jumped over the fence with injuries–an almost ten foot fence with injuries.”
The couple says looking back on that horrific night, they are moved, not by the evil that happened, but by the good they saw in so many people.
“There were people literally tearing off clothes to help other people catch their wounds and stop the bleeding, there were people who lost their lives sitting on other people to shield them,” Valerie said.