An Indio high school teacher has been in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound she received during the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Alexis Arias was at the Jason Aldean concert during the Route 91 Country Music Festival with a group of about 15 people including her husband, Ryan, and cousin, Joey. She says they’re avid country-music festival attendees.
When the shooting began, they thought they were hearing fireworks.
“Immediately after that, I started to recognize the actual automatic, repetitive sounds. At that point, it was clearly recognizable to everybody that this was a high-powered gun,” Arias says. “I got shot within the first minute. I almost had tunnel vision. Get to the bleachers, once we got to the bleachers, crawl forward.”
Her cousin and husband were on top of her when she was hit. The bullet hit at practically the only part of her body exposed.
She doesn’t remember much, only there were heroes. There were people who took the shirts off their backs and helped wrap her wound. When she eventually got to the hospital, she had three shirts and a belt from complete strangers on her leg as a make-shit tourniquet. There were two women who also helped her crawl, while her husband and cousin helped apply pressure to the wound.
She made it to the hospital by the grace of an Uber driver. She didn’t take his contact information, but she remembers a few details.
“His name was Ben Ott. He worked as a chef. He was from Pennsylvania or somewhere with a P,” she recalls. “I’m very grateful he stopped and opened the door without hesitation.”
She says the hospital E.R. was full and it was apparent she was in much better condition than many others.
“I heard screaming and shouts of people in pain. I just bit down and took the pain as best as I could until they could get to me,” she says.
She received a bullet in her upper thigh. Doctors have determined it will do more harm than good to remove the bullet.
“It traveled up to my tailbone, it’s actually still at that area,” she says.
Doctors have a theory the bullet may have ricocheted off the ground.
While at the Las Vegas hospital, she has been trying to walk more and more to deal with the pain. She’s also dealing with the emotions.
“This morning, I dealt with a few emotions between being grateful to be alive, but also with the pain that I’m enduring,” says Arias.
She’s been receiving emails and messages of encouragement from current and former students and staff. This high school English teacher has a message to her students at Amistad High School.
“One student said it best. He wrote, he believes in me just as I believe in and push them to believe in themselves. Pass that strength along,” she says.
Arias expects to be discharged Wednesday and head back home to Indio shortly after. She says she’ll be out of the classroom for a couple weeks while she rehabilitates.