Restaurant Heroes Shelter Scared, Injured in Las Vegas

Coco's restaurant is just steps off the Vegas strip, and as shots rained down from 32 floors up, dozens of frightened and injured concert goers ran finding safety in the cozy diner. Marc Santia reports.

(Published Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017)

Oscar Silva and Jonathan Ramirez came in for their late-night shifts at Coco’s Bakery Restaurant in Las Vegas early on Sunday, expecting a rush after the Route 91 country festival at a concert ground a stone’s throw away wrapped up.

But instead of cooking up short orders and pouring coffee, they spent their night pulling terrified and wounded concertgoers to safety amid the pitter-patter of rapid gunfire.

Las Vegas is a city in grief following Sunday's massacre that left 59 dead, including the gunman, and more than 500 injured, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman has been identified as Stephen Paddock, a 64 year old real estate investor with no criminal history. 

(Published Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017)

"People came running in," Ramirez said. "People injured."

The server, cook and another restaurant worker were among the dozens of heroes who have emerged since a gunman opened fire with weapons augmented to fire more quickly from a 32nd-floor window at the Mandalay Bay hotel onto the concertground 400 yards away, leaving 58 dead and more than 500 injured Sunday night.

Exclusive video from Coco’s, less than a half-mile from the concert venue, shows stacks of folding tables and chairs being used as barricades as dozens of scared and injured concertgoers take safe haven from the violence outside.

"I'm not no hero, man,” Silva said. “We were just doing what we were supposed to be doing."

Amateur video footage has emerged showing the room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas from where Stephen Paddock rained down bullets onto a concert crowd on Sunday evening, killing 58 people. 

Jeff Bridges and his partner, who were guests at the hotel in January last year, stayed in the same room where Paddock launched his attack - room 32-135.

During his stay, Bridges filmed the room and the view from the windows, which included the concert venue; identical to the view that Paddock had of the venue on Sunday evening.

(Published Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017)

Silva and Ramirez said their shift at the 24-hour diner and bakery was normal, until they heard what sounded like gunfire coming from a ways away; the restaurant is about three-quarters a mile from the Mandalay Bay tower where the shooter busted out two windows and opened fire. Then, a few minutes later, the people started streaming in.

"They’re saying, 'There’s a shooting happening,'" Ramirez recalled. "'There’s a shooting happening!'"

Silva added, "The people’s faces. People were just pale. Just in shock."

Ramirez, Silva, the third worker and some retired firefighters in the restaurant at the time jumped to action, flipping and stacking tables against doorways and windows and drawing the blinds as dozens of terrified and bloodied concertgoers hunkered down beneath booths and tables, unaware if they were safe or a gunman was heading their way.

Las Vegas Mourns After Nation's Deadliest Modern Shooting

"Everybody was scared," said Ramirez. "People were grabbing utensils."

Despite the uncertainty, the 24-year-old Ramirez refused to lock one of the doors so he and Silva could get more people inside, including a man with a bloodied shoulder and a woman who made it from the concert venue to to the restaurant.

"She was a champion," Ramirez said. "No struggling, no tears in her eyes."

He added, "I was trying to get as many people in as possible."

Authorities investigating the Las Vegas mass shooting are now reconstructing the movements of Stephen Paddock and exploring the possibility he had considered other music festivals or large events before he chose Las Vegas. 

(Published Friday, Oct. 6, 2017)

Silva said he tried to calm the scared and wounded, saying "you're safe now, you're good."

In the hours since, messages of gratitude for Ramirez, Silva and the others inside the cozy diner at the time have come pouring in.

Ramirez said for his part, said he was happy to help.

"I was truly serving people that day," Ramirez said. "I was making sure everybody was OK with the little things we have."

Law enforcement and family members still cannot explain what would motivate a one-time accountant with no known criminal record to carry out the attack that left 59 dead and wounded more than 500 others. NBC's Sarah Dallof reports.

(Published Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017)