• Tacoma doctor told wife to run while he stayed to help Las Vegas victims

    By: Essex Porter

    Updated:

    “This story has nothing to do with me, it's about everybody who helped on the field that day.”

    That’s how Tacoma surgeon James Sebesta began his session with reporters late Wednesday afternoon. 

    When the bullets rained down in Las Vegas, Sebesta and his wife Janelle were in a covered, VIP section of the concert.

    When the shooting stopped, Sebesta started to run to safety, then changed his mind.

    “As I ran I turned again and looked out on the field and saw multiple people out there, people doing CPR, people trying to carry people and I couldn't not go help them.”

    So he asked friends to get his wife to safety, and went to work without so much as a goodbye to her.

    Asked what he was thinking, what he wished he’d had time to say, Sebesta responded, “I was scared for my wife, I was more scared that she could get out of there safely.”  

    Days earlier, Sebesta had become friends with Stephen Williams, an advertising executive from Edmonds.

    “And then I started hearing the bullets hit the stage area, you could hear impacts. Then soon after people started to fall, I saw people on the ground and that's when all the mayhem started,” Williams said. 

    “I knew what we had to do, we had to get them out," Sebesta said.

    The doctor's story went viral when his Sister-in-Law Crystal Graham posted it on Facebook. 

    Continue reading this story after the post.

    A 25 year Army surgeon, Dr. Sebesta deployed 4 times to Iraq and Afghanistan before retiring from Madigan Army Medical Center at JBLM last year.

    “You know, I've been in a lot of bad places during my career and seen lots of mass casualty (incidents). But in the Army, we were ready for them. And the other thing is there was a reason for them. I mean it was war. This was the most devastating thing I've ever seen. I could not believe it."

    Sebesta says he finds himself tearing up on occasion, when something reminds him of the family he might never have seen again. 

    At least 527 people were injured, and 58 victims died in the attack -- including a Seattle woman

    Watch a news conference with the doctor, in full, at this link or below. 


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