Local man staying in same hotel of Vegas shooter recounts tense moments

Police form a perimeter around the road leading to the Mandalay Hotel (background) after a gunman killed at least 50 people and wounded more than 400 others when he opened fire on a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 2, 2017. The gunman who opened fire on concertgoers from 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel was found dead, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, when a police SWAT team burst in, authorities said Monday.They said at least eight weapons, including a number of long rifles, were found in the room from where 64-year-old Stephen Paddock rained automatic fire into thousands of terrified people attending a country music concert across the street."We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry," Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. / AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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LAS VEGAS -- A local man is recounting his surreal experience, after he woke up in his hotel room to the sound of gunfire going off just a few doors down.

Sonny Morgan of Lawrenceville had flown to Las Vegas to attend a conference for work and had just dozed off for the night in his room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino when a commotion woke him up.

"I kinda thought that it may have been some fireworks… and then it just kept going and going and going,” Morgan told 11Alive's Chris Hopper. 

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Morgan called the front desk to report that he heard a noise that he thought may have been gun fire. "I could smell the gun plowed," he told 11Alive over the phone. 

Morgan said staff told him to remain calm and barricade himself inside his room, so he did, building a pillow fort on the floor to get as low as possible.

Moments later, Morgan said he heard the sound of police and SWAT officers going from room to room, trying to find the gunman. Then, an explosion.

“I honestly thought it was a major terrorist attack at that point – that someone was trying to blow up the hotel,” he recounted. "I kinda immediately called my wife because I didn’t know what was going on, you know, I said 'I love you.'"

Moments later, Morgan said police breached the hotel room of 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, on the same floor as his room. Authorities said Paddock opened fire from there on the 32nd floor into a packed, outdoor concert, killing at least 58 are dead and wounding more than 515 more before fatally shooting himself. The incident is now deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. 

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"I could hear the police making their way up the hallway and they were basically breaking down the doors… opening the doors aggressively," Morgan said. "Six or seven SWAT guys came in and just made sure that I wasn’t a bad person – that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. They ushered us out and told us to run as far and as fast as we could to get away."

When Morgan got outside, he said there were an "astronomical number" of police officers directing people away from the area, but at that point, they still didn't know fully what happened.

"We knew there was a shooter, we just didn’t know what extent," he said. 

Though Morgan said the whole situation sill hasn't really hit him, he said it was weird to watch the news reports and see things as they happened.

"You watch the video and you hear the exact same sounds you heard last night and it kinda puts it into a different light when you understand what was happening," he said.

Morgan is still in Vegas and is scheduled to come home Thursday. He's now been moved to a new room, but it's now with an new, eerie view.

"The view out of where I am now is probably very similar to the view the guy had, and it is chaos," Morgan said. "I can see down in to exactly where the folks were. I can see the windows were they were broken out… It’s really weird.”