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Route 91 Hero: 'The Nightmares Are Still There'

An abandoned cowboy hat on the Las Vegas Strip after the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Associated Press

An abandoned cowboy hat on the Las Vegas Strip after the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

It’s been six months since the Oct. 1 shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.

But to Paloma Solamente, it seems like yesterday.

She was driving for Lyft near the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the first shots rang out.

She drove several people to safety, including a wounded man who might not have lived without her help.

“Time has eased things down but the nightmares are still there,” she told KNPR's State of Nevada.

She said she is still haunted by the sound of gunshots and images of the chaos at the hospital where she took Billy King and his wife Kimberly. 

“Those are images that are never going to go away,” she said.

King and his wife contacted Lyft about Solamente. The company used her in a new campaign about their service and gave her and her children an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris.

She said Paris was beautiful but the massacre still haunted her while she was there. She said after seeing a picture of the shooter on social media she threw her phone at the wall and had to get a new one.

Solamente said she refuses to say Stephen Paddock's name, but she does think of him a lot.

“I hope that God – Allah – forgives him because we’re never going to forget what he did,” she said.

She has gone to therapy but found the therapists seemed to have the same advice about her feelings and reactions to the tragedy. Now, she's using essential oils, meditation and color therapy to deal with the trauma she suffered.

“I’m still living in the rollercoaster the difference is that now when my rollercoaster is going down I’m learning how to get myself up faster,” she said.​

Paloma Solamente and the man she saved Billy King

Paloma Solamente, hero

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Kristy Totten is a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada. Previously she was a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly, and has covered technology, education and economic development for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.