It’s been almost a year since two Palm Springs Officers were gunned down in the line of duty. A relative of Officer Jose "Gil" Vega ran for her life at the Route 91 concert in Las Vegas, while wearing his memorial shirt. In an exclusive interview, she is sharing her story of survival.
Desert Hot Springs resident Jennifer Heidt still hears the gun fire, the screaming and the terror. "Seeing something like that, it breaks you down as a person," she said through tears. "You saw bottles flying. You saw shoes flying. You saw purses drop. Glass is everywhere. People falling, trampling, helping, screaming," she said remembering the painful night.
Like everyone at the country music festival, Heidt was smiling just hours before. She never thought she would be dashing for cover as the gunfire rained down on them. "I saw people dropping like flies. The girl running next to me, I saw her get shot in the leg," said on the verge of tears.
Blood, carnage and paralyzing fear gripped her Sunday night. "This time I froze. I didn’t know what to do," she said.
As Heidt ran for her life, she feared the worst that she would end up killed in the line of fire just like her father-in-law, Palm Springs Officer Jose "Gil" Vega who was gunned down in the line of duty last October. "I heard bullets and it registered," she said. "This is how my father-in-law went out. I don’t want to die like this. I don’t want my kids to hear the same thing that Gilbert’s kids had to hear," she said.
Unlike many victims, Heidt returned home, suffering bumps and bruises. However, 59 were killed and more than 500 were wounded that night. Police said the suspected shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, killed himself. They do not yet have a motive.
"What the hell is wrong with people? To go out there, there’s family missing husbands, wives, girlfriends, sisters, uncles," she said confused.
Heidt said what happened is a reminder that life is so fragile. "I told everybody that I love them and I’m sorry for anything I’ve ever done," she said.