Off-duty troopers speak about springing into action to save lives during shooting

LAS VEGAS - Off-duty troopers speak about impromptu plan to spring into action, save lives during shooting

The selfless actions of on-and off-duty law enforcement officers helped save numerous lives during last week's deadly mass shooting.
   
Out of uniform and without weapons the law enforcement instincts of three Nevada Highway Patrol troopers 8 News NOW spoke with kicked in. 
    
Two of the off-duty troopers who were together when shots rang out, say they quickly came up with an escape plan.

"We looked at each other maybe a doze times or so just to make sure we were doing the right thing," said 

Troopers Shawn Eckert and Adam Whitmarsh say their priority was to get their wives and loved one to safety, so they created a circle, shielding the women in their group as they made their way to the exit farthest away from them.  During the treck, the men also picked up others who were frozen with fear.

"We just told them, 'hey, we're off-duty officers. Get with us, just stay in our group and we'll get you guys out of here," Eckert said.

Eventually, the off-duty troopers got separated, but both made men were still able to make it out safely.

Eckert said he received a phone call from a fellow trooper asking him to go back inside and get his daughter.  According to Eckert, he agreed without thinking twice.  He just had one request for his fellow trooper.

"I said, 'I'll go back and get your daughter, but I have a 14-year-old son, so if anything happens to me, you have to make sure he's taken care of'," Eckert said.

He found the young girl and got her to safety.  In the meantime, Whitmarsh had gone back into the medical tent to help.

Word spread among on-duty NHP troopers, and Travis Smaka rushed to the scene where he came a cross a pick-up truck packed with injured concert-goers. 

"I see multiple people in there with castotrophic injuries," Smaka said." "They're just stacked on top of each other in the back of this pickup truck."

Smaka escorted them to the hospital.

"I was informed that one of the people in the truck that I was trying to help didn't make it.  I feel bad about that because I feel like I failed that poor person, but I did the best I could," Smaka said as he teared up.

The entire shooting has weighed heavily on these NHP troopers' hearts.  Many of them say they wish they could have done more.  

According to them, they're not heroes and only did what anyone else would have done.


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