SEATTLE - Dozens of people from the Pacific Northwest who survived the Las Vegas massacre, came together Sunday to help each other heal. For many survivors, it was their first time reuniting with others also at that concert and say getting a chance to finally meet is powerful.
Survivors tell KIRO7 they talk about the good and the bad with the only other people who can understand exactly what they went through.
The memories are still fresh.
“I was running for my life,” said Dennis Guerrero, a California photographer and survivor here to help capture the reunion.
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“We didn't know where he was, we didn't know where he was coming from, it was so surreal,” said Sharon Hoover, a survivor from La Conner, Wash.
The toll of the Las Vegas massacre continues.
“When I came back October 2nd, I was completely shattered,” Guerrero said. “I didn't sleep for like a week. I was going crazy. I was losing my mind. Racing thoughts, anger fear.”
But slowly, survivors are finding ways, to close their wounds.
“This is a healing process,” said Steve Munoz, who is from Renton and was at the concert with his wife and five friends.
About 50 survivors from the Pacific Northwest attended Sunday.
“To know there were this many of us at the concert all together, it hits home. It gets emotional but just knowing we're all here and we made it has been helpful,” Munoz said.
The reunion is a happy one that celebrates life.
Helping capture the moments is Guerrero - professional photographer from California who also survived the concert.
“Trying to make sure that guy doesn't rob us anymore. That love always wins no matter what, we always come forward, we always stand in the middle of the darkness and let people know we're not alone,” Guerrero said.
He said in the moments of panic, not knowing if he'd survive, he realized something.
“ I was calling my wife to tell her I love her, and to protect my kid. And it crossed my mind we hadn't taken a family photo in 10 years,” he said.
Now he works to capture moments for survivors to cherish, turning something terrible and painful into something positive. He says it's something that also helps him heal.
“I feel like every time we have one of these, I get a piece of my soul back,” Guerrero said.
There will be another reunion on February 25th - that one will be in Las Vegas. For some survivors it will be their first time returning to the city, since the massacre. They say it'll be difficult but a next step in the healing process.
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