St. Louis area residents in Las Vegas during massacre share their stories

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) -- “It sounded like straight firecrackers literally going off. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Like someone set off a round of fireworks.” said Granite City native Kendra Holman.

Holman and a group of friends from Granite City were outside Mandalay Bay Sunday night when the shooting started.

“As soon as you heard it, and we saw people break loose and run, we ran the opposite way.” added Holman.

Had they’d followed their original plans they might been among victims.

“We were going to go over and check out that concert, and we decided to go the opposite way and get something to eat.” said Holman.

“Complete pandemonium. A group of 10 of us were in a stairwell for probably an hour.” said St. Louisan Bharat Varadachari.

Bharat Varadachari was inside Paris casino at the time of the shooting. He says panic spread amid fear other casino’s would be attacked.

“Cops in riot gear walking down the strip with machine guns. I saw one cop had a flashlight and was checking each car.” said Varadachari.

Jennings resident Pamela Williams says police stormed the hotel at New York, New York.

“We were at Mandalay Bay earlier that day, probably a half hour before it was going to happen. We decided to go back to the hotel and not the event we were going to. I guess it was a blessing.” said Williams.

On the first Southwest flight from Las Vegas to St. Louis Monday morning Williams noted the mood of those departing Sin City.

“It was somber. Very, very somber. Everybody nervous trying to get to their destination,” ​ added Williams.