Mom of Rays INF Daniel Robertson was at Vegas shooting site
Having run away from the bullets that turned the concert venue into carnage and found at least momentary safety in an adjacent casino, Julie Robertson found some comfort in talking to her four sons, including Daniel, the Rays rookie infielder who was packing up back in St. Petersburg following the season finale.
"I didn't know if I would see them again,'' she said Monday, "so I just wanted to talk to them. ... It was so comforting to hear their voices. It helped. Daniel was right there.''
Feeling fortunate to have escaped unharmed and heartbroken over what happened, Julie Robertson told a harrowing tale of the massacre, made more frightening by initial reports of multiple shooters being on the ground rather than a lone sniper in the Mandalay Bay hotel.
"It's just hard to not think about the what-if,' she said.
Robertson and her friend Lori Thompson had been up near the right side of the stage for Jake Owens' performance, but Thompson was hot and thirsty so they escaped the crowd and moved back to get a water before Jason Aldean came on stage.
A few minutes later, the shooting began, with fans in the areas they had just left being hit.
"All of a sudden I hear this "pop, pop, pop," and my friend says I think the speakers are going out and I thought it was a helicopter,'' Robertson said. "Then we heard it again and people were just running at us. I just grabbed my friend's hand and said, "There's a shooter, we have to get out of here.'' There were so many rounds it sounded like there were maybe 10 or 20 shooters on the ground. It sounded like they were coming from everywhere.''
They took shelter first in a food truck, then - after seeing people covered in blood - decided to head out toward the street. "I told my friend, We're going to run, we're not going to sit here and get shot,'' Robertson said.
As they eventually made their way past several SWAT teams to safety in the Excalibur hotel, she opened a group text to the boys to tap out a quick message that she was okay, and each then called to be sure.
After a sleepless night, Robertson and Thompson got back to their Luxor hotel to get their bags and headed to the Vegas airport for a morning flight back to California.
"A lot of people were crying, you could tell most had been up all night,'' she said. "Just walking down the aisle of the plane, that was so eerie. Everybody was kind of in shock, some people had their hands bandaged, some were on crutches.''
Robertson got home mid-morning and two of the boys picked her up. Daniel was due to land late Monday afternoon. There were going to be lots of hugs.