Jonathan Smith risked his life to save 30 people
You’ve probably seen his picture on social media. Meet Jonathan Smith, a copy machine repairman and father of three who likely saved the lives of dozens of people on Sunday night.
The day after the Las Vegas massacre outside Mandalay Bay, a reporter for The Washington Post tweeted out a picture of a man with a bandage on his neck. Her tweet read: “Jonathan Smith, 30, saved ~30 people last night before he was shot in the neck. He might live w/the bullet for rest of his life.” The tweet quickly went viral, because after Sunday night’s horrific events, we needed to see the heroes.
Today that same reporter, Heather Long, has published an interview with Smith that provides more information about the brave actions he took during the worst mass shooting in American history.
Smith was attending the concert with nine family members to celebrate his brother’s 43rd birthday. His three nieces, ages 22, 18, and 17, were among them. They were seated near the stage when the shooting started.
Smith told his family to hold hands and run, but they got separated in the panic. When he tried looking for his nieces, he saw people standing around, in shock and confusion, not knowing what to do. He started yelling, “Active shooter, active shooter, let’s go! We have to run.” He pulled some to a parking lot where they hid behind cars. Then, he saw a few girls who weren’t fully hidden, so he stood up to try to get them behind cover. That’s when he was shot in the neck.
As happened again and again that night, his heroism was followed by another’s. An off-duty San Diego police officer went to Smith, tried to stop the bleeding, and flagged down a truck to take him to the hospital.
Anyone’s instinct in that situation would be to run, but what we’ve seen is that many people refused to leave their loved ones and family members. And some, like Smith, did what they could to save the lives of everyone around them, including total strangers. Thanks to Smith, around 30 people got to safety who might otherwise have been killed or badly hurt.
What makes someone rescue others before thinking of themselves? To Smith, it was very simple: “I decided I’m not going to leave anybody behind,” he told The Today Show.
The bullet — which broke his collarbone, cracked a rib, and bruised a lung — is still in him. Doctors are concerned that removing it would only cause more damage. “I might have to live with this bullet for the rest of my life,” said Smith.
He doesn’t consider himself a hero, of course — the truly brave rarely do. “I don’t see myself that way,” he told The Washington Post. “I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.”
Every member of Smith’s family who was at the concert survived, likely due to his clear-headed heroism and quick thinking. A GoFundMe account has been created to help him pay for his medical expenses and the time he will need off from work to recover from his injuries.