This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.
Two years ago, Saanich’s Brie Jacobson found herself in the middle of a panicked crowd of Las Vegas concert-goers, being shot at from a hotel room above. The terror started when the man in front of her dropped to the ground.
“I just looked down and I saw this big pool of blood at his head and it was at that point [I thouhgt] okay someone is shooting at us,” Jacobson said.
In 11 minutes, 58 people were dead, hundreds more injured, and thousands, like Jacobson, were left struggling with psychological trauma.
“Vegas destroyed me,” she said. “I have yet to talk to any survivors that don’t feel like they have some form of PTSD, and you don’t really understand PTSD until you’re in it.”
On Thursday, MGM, which owns Mandalay Bay where the shooter was located, settled a lawsuit with victims and families for as much as $800 million.
“This is a step in the right direction to try to put that behind us,” said lawyer Robert Eglet, who represents 2,500 victims and their families.
It will take a year or more for an independent auditor to distribute the funds to the victims.
Victoria’s Sheldon Mack was shot twice that night and needed surgery. His family didn’t want to comment on the settlement Thursday.
Jacobson decided not to join the lawsuit but says news of a settlement is bittersweet.
“They had to go through something so horrific and have so many struggles and somehow they’re only the worth what the lawsuit stipulates they’re worth,” she said.
As for Jacobson, two years and a lot of therapy has made a big difference. While she still struggles every day, she no longer has panic attacks at the grocery store.
“Every day is a gift and we’re really lucky we get to have one more day,” she said.
She continues to advocate for gun control and says she plans to turn her thoughts and experiences into a book so others can try to understand just how life-altering gun violence can be.