'I could see the flash of the gunshots': Portland woman was on Vegas shooter's floor

Portland woman was 3 doors down from shooter

PORTLAND, Ore. -- When Tia Newman Williams of Portland checked into the Mandalay Bay, she made the split decision to upgrade to a suite on the 32nd floor.  

She had just wrapped up a girl's weekend and moved to the hotel for a work conference.

She snapped a photo of the view and the music festival below before turning in early that night.

"I was on the phone with my husband, we were FaceTiming with each other when the shooting started," she said. "I immediately knew it was a shooter, but I couldn't tell where it was coming from... it was just really loud multiple gunshots.

"There would be the breaks which I know now were obviously when he was reloading, my husband could hear it on the phone," she said.

Tia called the hotel front desk to report a shooter in the hotel. That's when she was told to stay in her room.

"At this point I was leaning kind of up against the wall where I could look out the panoramic windows and I could see the flash of the gunshots... down the way so I could tell it was parallel with me, a few windows down," she said.

Tia says the shooting went on for about 20 minutes.

Then she heard police in the hallway, followed by an explosion. They had blown down the shooter's door.

It was then, Tia decided to go look out into the hallway.

"I saw a large groups of police officers and a SWAT team probably 10 or 12 of them," she recalled. "I heard them yelling inside the room... they yelled things like 'get down' ... I don't know if he was already down," she said.

A few minutes later, security came to her door and rushed her outside. They told her the hotel was not safe and to run.

"I was in my pajamas and I had my cellphone and they said run and that's what we did - we ran for about a mile and a half," she said.

She finally stopped when she reached a safe zone.

For the next six hours, she waited.

She was only allowed back into the hotel the next morning. But she was never allowed to return to her room on the 32nd floor. Still she was thankful to be safe, knowing so many never made it to safety.

"I feel horrible for all the victims and their families. I can't even imagine. It's just absolutely awful."

Tia said she never saw the shooter, Stephen Paddock, in the hotel leading up to that night, nor did she see anything suspicious.

She did not realize something was wrong until she heard the shots.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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