Taylor Winston, a retired Marine sergeant, had just grabbed a couple of beers with a friend and taken his position stage-right at the Jason Aldean concert this past weekend when the gun shots started to ring out from Mandalay Bay.
And while most sought to flee the concert and save themselves from the horrifying scene, Winston, an Iraq war veteran, spotted a nearby field full of pickup trucks, stole one and started transporting victims to the hospital. Per CBS News:
Taylor Winston had remarkable poise less than 24 hours after Sunday night's deadly mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music concert. The Marine veteran ran from danger after a sniper opened fire on the crowd, but instead of leaving, he drove more than two dozen victims to the hospital.
"People started scattering and screaming and that's when we knew something real was happening," Winston said.
"The shots got louder and louder, closer to us and saw people getting hit, it was like we could be hit at any second. Once we got to the fence, I helped throw a bunch of people over, and got myself over," Winston said. "It was a mini war zone but we couldn't fight back."
The 29-year-old veteran couldn't fight the threat, but he was able to drive.
"I saw a field with a bunch of white trucks. I tested my luck to see if any of them had keys in it, first one we tried opening had keys sitting right there. I started looking for people to take to the hospital," Winston said. "There was just too many and it was overwhelming how much blood was everywhere."
Truck stolen by Winston to transport victims
When all was said and done, Winston estimates that he transported 20-30 victims to the Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center before ambulances were able to arrive on the scene.
Winston said he loaded some of the most critical victims into a stolen truck and sped to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center – all before ambulances had arrived on scene, reports "CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell.
Victims squeezed into the backseat and spread across the bed of the truck.
"Once we dropped them off, we were like well, let's go back for round two and go get some more," he said. "I transported probably 20 to 30 people injured to the hospital."
In an interview with the Daily Beast, Winston said he can't be certain which of the victims he transported survived as he didn't have time to notice faces in his haste to efficiently assess the most critical wounds.
Winston doesn’t know which of his passengers survived. “I can’t be for certain. There’s a few that I don’t think probably made it. They were pretty limp when we were pulling them out of the truck, but they still had a pulse, so I’m hoping for the best.”
“I was in such a speedy movement I didn’t assess anyone’s faces or anything,” Winston said. “Just wounds and who was most critical. I was just trying to be efficient and get the most serious critical condition people to the hospital first.”
Not surprisingly, Winston attributed his poise under pressure to serving two tours of duty in Iraq after joining the Marines at age 17.
Winston joined the Marines at age 17, eventually serving two tours in Iraq. In 2011, he was honorably discharged as a sergeant.
In his first tour, Winston worked with Iraqi police officers on a transition team. During his second deployment, the Round Mountain, Nevada native was on the USS Boxer—an amphibious assault ship working on helicopters and helped during the Capt. Richard Phillips rescue mission. Winston says he worked on the aircraft that dropped the Navy SEALs who would save the American cargo captain from Somali pirates.
Winston said his experiences overseas and military training might have prompted him to dash into danger during Sunday’s chaos. But he didn’t want to take much credit.
"I think a lot of my training in the military helped me in the situation. We needed to get them out of there regardless of our safety," he said.
Winston rejects the "hero" label. He said he saw many people – like him – doing good deeds.
"There was a lot of bravery and courageous people out there. I'm glad that I could call them my country folk," he said.
Of course, CNN would ask that you reserve judgement on Winston's heroics until after they confirm whether or not he was a Trump supporter.