COLUMBUS (WCMH) — October 1, 2017. Thousands of people gather in Las Vegas for the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. But what should have been a night filled with enjoying country music turned tragic. 58 people dead — and hundreds injured in what is now the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Hilliard resident Kody Robertson was there, witnessing the horror first-hand. We first heard his story less than 24 hours after the shooting. Recently, I met up with him to see how he’s coping 4 months later.
“I’m doing OK. I’m taking it day by day basically,” said Robertson. “It’s something that I know I live with for the rest of my life.”
It is a night Robertson will never forget and a night that has forever changed his life.
“It was like a shell shock,” said Robertson. “Kind of like a numb feeling for the first couple of weeks, first couple of months. My life every day is still completely different than what I had.”
Many of the haunting images from that night remain.
“Every day I experience something. There will be days or nights that I can’t go to sleep because I relive something in my head,” said Robertson.
Talking with fellow Route 91 survivors through a support group has helped, as has counseling, learning how to manage through the post-traumatic stress.
“Loud noises sometimes will get me. I’ve had some issues with crowds. I’ve been to a couple concerts since and had some issues getting closer to the stage with a lot of people around me and bumping into me,” said Robertson.
The breakdowns still happen especially when his thoughts turn to Michelle Vo. Robertson only knew Vo for a few hours but they instantly connected. He was standing next to her when she was shot. In a recent trip to Las Vegas to begin to get some closure, Robertson visited the makeshift memorial for the victims near the famous Las Vegas sign.
“There was a guy playing bagpipes which immediately broke me down. And as he was doing that I was walking around and that’s when I first saw Michelle’s cross. That was tough. That was tough to see it for the first time. I broke down like this and and then I just kind of kept walking,” said Robertson.
Coming up next week, much more of Matt Barnes’s conversation with Robertson, including more on that trip to Las Vegas and his new initiative to spread some kindness to others in honor of the victims of the tragedy.