Bubba Derby is a minor-league pitcher in the Brewers system, and he was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd, killing at least 59 people. Derby was at the festival with several family members and friends, and he’s since detailed the terrifying experience of being in the middle of the maelstrom, trying to find his family, and helping people out.
Derby was staying four floors below the 32nd floor suite in the Mandalay Bay hotel from which Paddock opened fire, and he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he was near the front of the stage when shooting began:
“We didn’t know where the shots were coming from,” said Derby, who was “about 100 yards” in front of the stage when the shooting began. “It sounded like they were on top of us. Everyone got down. We tried to get as low to the ground as possible. The first thing I did was look for my family.
“I turned around and looked to find my aunt, and I’ll never forget the look on her face. We made eye contact and we thought we were about to die. You could hear the bullets ricocheting. It’s one of those moments where you just want to try to get out of there.”
Derby said his parents took his six-year-old nephew to a different show that night. His sister and her husband wanted to watch the concert from afar, while he, his girlfriend, his cousin, and his aunt went up close. They ran from the shots and managed to escape with a couple they didn’t know.
“I’ve been walking around today kind of in a haze. You see the city is pretty empty. I think people are pretty shaken up. You can tell because they have a certain look on their face like they saw a ghost. For me, personally, processing this information took a while. It’s going to be one of those things where I just have to accept what happened and try to move on from it.”
Speaking to TMZ Sports, Derby said that he used his body to form a shield around two girls that were near him and his family, and that his cousin did the same. A pair of attendees later thanked him via Facebook for helping them to safety, for staying with them throughout the night, and providing one of them with a place to sleep.