Vegas shooting survivors say music is helping them heal - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Vegas shooting survivors say music is helping them heal

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Tucson- On October 1, 2017, 58 people died at the hands of a madman who opened fire on a massive crowd of people at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. 422 people suffered gunshot wounds and hundreds of others were hurt in the chaos that followed. 

Julie and Frank Kischer were at the festival, along with longtime friend John Groff, when the bullets started raining down on them. While each has dealt with what happened that night differently, all three say it is music that has helped them heal.

Julie, her husband Frank, and John, have played in a band together called "WildRide" for 11 years. They take two weekends off a year, one for the Country Thunder concert, the other, for the Route 91 Music Festival. This trip included nine other people, including John Groff's two daughters, Kelsey and Tanya. The night of the shooting, two in the group had decided not to go to the final performances. Groff said they were all were having a great time until they heard the speakers start to cut out.

"We thought their PA system was going out, and then we saw some smoke in the crowd I think it was Julie who mentioned, what idiot brought fireworks, it sounded like firecrackers", said John, "We saw smoke, which turns out were bullets ricocheting off the ground.

John said that would be just the first round of a nightmare, as the gunman quickly reloaded and began shooting again.

"My daughter Kelsey got shot in the hand and she went down to the ground and had her hand on her stomach", said John, "So we immediately thought she had been shot in the stomach and as I was kneeling down by her my other daughter went down and her boyfriend Nate got shot in the arm." 

With three in the group shot and the gunfire not letting up, Frank Kischer thought they would never get out of the arena alive. 

"We said our goodbyes to each other on the second round of bullets", said Frank, And we thought sure, this is going to be over."   

According to Julie, Frank, and John never hesitated when it came to protecting her and the others in the group.

"My husband and my friend both jumped on top of me", said Julie, "And on top of all the girls at the concert that were in our group, to shield us."

Moving and finding cover where they could between rounds the group made it out when the shooting finally stopped. John's priority was to get his daughter's and their friend to the hospital. He says it was not long after before reality set in for his two girls.

"In the ambulance, they both witnessed people die sitting right next to them", said John, "And when they were both in the emergency room they both saw 10 people die."

Fortunately, all of their injuries were not life-threatening and they were brought back to hospitals in Arizona the next day to begin to mend. For John, Frank, and Julie, healing would come in a different way.

"We got back on Wednesday we had a gig on Thursday", Julie said, "So we jumped right back into it.

Getting back on stage turned out to be just the medicine they needed. For them, it was not only an act of defiance against the evil they witnessed but getting back to what they loved.

"The sum total for our experience is that ever

one came out intact", Frank said, "I figure the best kind of respect I can show towards people who paid a bigger price would be to just keep doing what I'm doing. 

"We Can't let the bad guys win, one crazy guy doing something crazy, it's no different than a terrorist attack", said John, "We can't let them run our lives, we have to stand up and do it more."

That first night WildRide was back on stage at the Outlaw Saloon they played Jason Aldean's "When She Says Baby", the same song Aldean was playing when the shooting started.  It was their way of saying the band would play on and a tribute to all of the victims of that horrific night.


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