'It just kept coming:' Local officer recounts being caught in Las Vegas concert shooting

He and his wife were in the crowd when bullets rang out.

Days after the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, the stories of survival from the night are still surfacing.

One of them is from a metro Atlanta police Lieutenant and his family, who were at the concert when the hail of bullets first rang out.

Brad Loudermilk is a 23-year veteran police officer with the Douglasville Police Department with SWAT experience. On Tuesday, he gave 11Alive his first-hand account of what they saw that Oct. 1 night, how he and his family survived and how they are recovering emotionally.

Loudermilk told 11Alive that they planned the trip to the Route 91 Harvest music festival because his wife wanted to celebrate her birthday. They and some close family left on a Thursday for the concert and planned to come back Monday.

"It was good, up until Sunday," he recalled.

Loudermilk said they were in the crowd Sunday night to hear Jason Aldean, his wife's favorite. "We started listening to the music like we had been the past two nights and it just all went downhill from there."

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

He said by the second or third song, the gunfire started piercing through the air.

"You heard a single shot, like a pop, from the right," Loudermilk described. "You heard a couple more pops. And we both stopped and looked over there, waiting for the sparkles, thinking, 'Well this is the grand finale.'" 

Then came what Loudermilk called a volley of shots.

"It still sounded like fireworks," he recalled. "We were still like, 'OK, where's the sparkles?' No sparkles. That's when we thought, 'Something ain't right.'"

Loudermilk said he remembered thinking that there were plenty of police around, and he just knew they would take care of it. But then more shots rang out and then Aldean ran off stage. That's when Loudermilk's wife pulled out her phone and started recording. 

"At that time, panic sits in and everybody started dropping to the ground," he said. "At that time, I knew something wasn't right."

He knew they had to start moving. People were hiding where ever they could -- behind garbage cans, fences, even lawn chairs. Loudermilk said he got separated from his wife and others for about five minutes. When they were finally able to find each other, he knew they had to keep calm and keep moving. 

"I've never experienced this amount of gunfire at one time, ever," he recalled. "It just kept coming and it kept coming."

Loudermilk said they eventually found shelter between two trailers to shield them from the gunfire, and ultimately, they were able to make it back home to Atlanta. But the feeling of being helpless to defend himself and his wife left them with heavy memories and an experience they're not likely to forget.

"It was sickening," Loudermilk said. "It made you sick to think I was just a part of that, and what could I have done differently?"

He told 11Alive he remembers telling himself that he would be done with concerts, and it lasted a few days. But ultimately, Loudermilk said dwelling on what could have happened is not a way to live life.

"You've got to keep living," he said. "You've got to keep doing things. You can't just shut down and hide... You've got to keep going."

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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