WAFB's Johnny A blocks away from Vegas shooting - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

WAFB's Johnny A blocks away from Vegas shooting

Johnny Ahysen (Source: WAFB) Johnny Ahysen (Source: WAFB)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (WAFB) -

WAFB traffic anchor Johnny Ahysen, who is visiting Las Vegas on vacation this week, was on the Vegas strip Sunday night when the deadly mass shooting unfolded at a nearby music festival.

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Ahysen spoke to WAFB’s Elizabeth Vowell on the phone and described what happened as they were informed of the shootings nearby.

He and his friends were at a David Copperfield show inside the MGM Grand hotel, near Mandalay Bay casino where the shootings happened.

“At 10:15 they informed David Copperfield that there was some activity down on the Strip and we were all locked in, all the casinos were on lockdown,” Ahysen said.

Copperfield continued to perform his magic show because the venue was on lockdown.

“At the end of the show, the curtain came down, he came back out, lights came back up. (Copperfield was a) Very very warm, very personable man, he just kind of hung out with us and told us what was going on.”

After the show, the hotel crew got on stage and explained what was going on. They also put one of the local Las Vegas television news stations on the theater’s large screen.

Ahysen, other attendees, and even David Copperfield were required to stay in the theater for the next hour until they were allowed into the MGM Grand Hotel. Ahysen and his group would remain at the MGM for the next seven hours because the other hotels on the strip were on lockdown.

He said he didn't have his phone during the show because left his phone in his hotel room. However, people at the theater we're kind enough to let him or other people without their phones contact their loved ones. 

“They finally released us to go with an armed security guard to walk back over The Excalibur. A lot of folks who were at other shows or other casinos, they were on lockdown and couldn't get back to their home base hotel or motel. That was about seven or eight hours.”

Ahysen, who has been on the Las Vegas strip since Friday, says the mood now is very somber.

“It is so weird. The people of Las Vegas are talking on TV and the locals are being interviewed and it sounds frighteningly similar to what we experienced in the summer of 2016 with our police officer shooting.

It makes you feel funny about silly things like telling your loved ones that you love them. People on vacation had no idea that 58 people would not be coming home. It's weird.”     

Ahysen’s group made it back to their room at The Excalibur Hotel and Casino safely around 7 am. The Excalibur is located about a half-mile from Mandalay Bay. 

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