By: Will Burchfield
Like most people, Miles Killebrew woke up not knowing.
Like few, he was alerted by personal messages of concern.
“I had texts asking if my family was okay, and I didn’t know what they were talking about. I was able to read online and see what was going on, and my heart was broken. Immediately that’s when I started reaching out to people I knew back home,” Killebrew said.
The second-year Lions safety is a native of Henderson, Nev., just outside Las Vegas, where on Sunday night at least 59 people were killed and several hundred more were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Killebrew is close with about six people who were shot, he said, and he knows people whose friends were killed.
“A couple people that went to my school were shot. Flesh wounds, mostly. I know of one girl in the hospital right now, praying for a quick recovery for her. But I have friends who know some of the people that were killed, unfortunately. It’s tough,” said Killebrew. “It’s a hard time right now, but we’re praying for them and a lot’s being done. I know a lot of people are giving blood, and I encourage you to go give blood if you can.”
No one in Killebrew’s family was at the scene of the shooting, which took place at an outdoor country concert, and for this he considers himself lucky. He said his mom is a “huge country fan,” and she may have gone to the concert had she not been at Killebrew’s game Sunday afternoon in Minnesota.
“And my sister, she was interning for the convention center there in Vegas and she would be around the shows all the time. Thankfully she’s studying abroad in Europe right now, she definitely would have been there. So many things go through your head, man,” said Killebrew.
Though his family is safe and unharmed, Killebrew said the victims he knows are “soulmates.”
“I know it’s tough if you don’t directly know someone who was affected. It’s hard. People are looking, and they don’t know what to do. My best advice if you don’t have anyone that you can connect to is just love who’s around you right now, because in this day and age you never know what’s going to happen,” Killebrew said.
When Killebrew learned of the tragedy Monday morning, he texted a couple girls he went to high school with to make sure they were okay. One of them responded by telling him she had been grazed by a bullet.
” I was like, ‘Wo.’ I wasn’t expecting that. I thought maybe she was going to say someone she knew, but she said she was grazed and that she had to go to the hospital, and she was going to go to work the next day. I said, ‘You’re going to work?'” Killebrew asked in disbelief.
“You have to figure,” he went on, “people there work down on the strip and they’re dealing with the influx of people that maybe had to stay overnight, so they need every hand they can get. She felt it upon herself to go help, even though she had just suffered a gunshot wound the night before. It’s crazy, but the city’s definitely wrapping their hands around all those people.”
Killebrew said he’s been talking with friends back home, searching for ways to help out, though he’s yet to come up with anything definite.
“It affects us all, and they’re saying it’s the largest shooting in U.S. history? That’s terrible, that’s heartbreaking,” said Killebrew. “Putting everything aside — the politics, the game — just as a human being it breaks your heart.
“I couldn’t imagine if I had a kid, or a friend of mine, saying, ‘Hey, I’m going out to the concert. I’ll see you later tonight.’ And you’re just like, ‘Okay, I’ll see you guys later,’ and you never see that person again.”