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Route 91 Survivors: 'Our Love Got Us Out Of There'

route91_festival_grounds.jpg

Associated Press

When Billy and Kimberly King went to the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1, they expected a fun night of country music.

But a few hours later, Billy King was fighting for his life.

Of the thousands of bullets that rained down upon festival goers from a suite at Mandalay Bay, one of them tore through Billy’s back and chest.

He survived thanks to a number of people, including Paloma Solamente, a Lyft driver who drove them to safety, who we checked in with last week.

“I’m still in that feeling of being blessed,” Billy King told KNPR's State of Nevada. 

However, he admitted he has moments of frustrations and negativity.

“I’ll always have this in my mind," he said. "It’s a constant thought."

And while he says his moments of anxiety, he works to overcome them.

“You can’t stop life; You have to live still," he said.

Billy King is in physical therapy for the physical scars left by Stephen Paddock's bullets, but he has decided not to go for emotional therapy.

“I’m just trying to focus on Kimberly and I and the kids," he said. "Right now, I think that is best for me.”

As for Kimberly, she said she is getting a lot of support from survivors of the shooting. She said they connect through a Facebook page that allows them to ask for and receive help from people who were there.

Support comes from

The images of that horrific night are still very close to the surface for both of them.

Kimberly remembers feeling like the world was ending. Even at the hospital, she remembers grabbing supplies from a supply closet, convinced she would have to take Billy from the hospital and remove the bullet herself.

At one point, she was sure a nurse was about to tell her Billy had died. Instead, the nurse told her he was doing okay. 

Both of them credit each other for surviving the massacre. Kimberly remembers Billy shielding her from bullets and picking her up after she fell time after time while they ran for safety. She said at one point she realized she had to escape because Billy wouldn't find help if she wasn't safe.

“I thought ‘this man is going to die because he doesn’t want me to get hurt,’” she said.

“I just think that our love saved us, honestly,” Billy King said.

He said if she hadn't been there urging him to leave as the first shots rang out he would be dead.

“When I was shot, all I thought about was her,” he said.

Billy and Kimberly weren't married the night of the shooting but they are planning to get married next April. At the hospital, Kimberly ran into a couple of roadblocks because they weren't married.

Billy actually proposed to Kimberly while the couple that helped save his life had come to Las Vegas to visit them. 

Another thing that has changed for Kimberly since the shooting is her view of the world. She said she used to be much more negative and see the darkness in the world. She didn't like living in Las Vegas, but the strength and support she has found since the shooting has changed that.

"There is more good than evil in the world," she said.

Guests

Billy and Kimberly King, shooting survivors

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KNPR's State of Nevada
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KNPR's State of Nevada