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Amherst native near Las Vegas shooting scene

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LAS VEGAS – It’s not the way Alex Gagnon expected to begin his Vegas vacation.

The 31-year-old Amherst native and his girlfriend had barely arrived in Las Vegas late Sunday when gunfire erupted from a nearby hotel killing more than 50 and injuring several hundred more at a country music concert.
Gagnon, who lives and works in Moncton, and his girlfriend, Shawn Boyle, were in bed when the shooting occurred. He knew nothing about it until he woke up to numerous messages on his cell phone.
“When I woke up there were a lot of messages from family and friends wanting to know if we were safe,” Gagnon said. “We were telling everyone we were safe without really knowing what happened. I know my parents were freaking out, but were relieved when they heard from me.”
Gagnon and his girlfriend are staying at the MGM Grand, approximately two blocks from the Mandalay Bay. His hotel went into lockdown immediately after the shooting and he hasn't attempted to leave the building.
Their hotel room faces in another direction from the shooting, but when went the hotel’s elevators windows there face down the strip to the Mandalay Bay and McCarran International Airport.
“There are a lot of emergency vehicles and lights flashing up the strip,” he said. “You can certainly tell something bad has happened. There are a lot of police cars.”
Gagnon and Boyle were looking forward to a busy day of touring, including a visit to the Shark Reef Aquarian at Mandalay Bay. They were also supposed to see Cirque de Soleil at their own hotel tonight, but are wondering if it will go ahead after the shooting
They will try to resume the vacation on Tuesday, but admitted it’s going to be difficult considering what happened.
“This is something we’ve been planning for six or seven months. You just don’t expect things like this to happen. There’s going to be a different vibe here today for sure. There are going to be a lot of upset people and a lot paranoia.
“We’re not going to let it ruin our vacation but our thoughts and sympathies are going to be with the people impacted by this shooting.”
Gagnon and Boyle are scheduled to return to the Maritimes on Saturday.
darrell.cole@amherstnews.ca
Twitter: @ADNdarrell

The Mandalay Bay hotel is a couple of blocks from the MGM Grand, where Amherst native Alex Gagnon and his girlfriend Shawn Boyle are staying.

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