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First Person: Las Vegas Survivor

April 2, 2018 1:46 p.m.

First Person: Las Vegas Survivor


Shiva Ghaed, clinical psychologist, Naval Medical Center San Diego

Related Story: First Person: Las Vegas Survivor


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

>> this marks six months since the shooting in Las Vegas but more than half of the people killed, were from California. Shiva Ghaed was one of the tens of thousands country friends there this weekend. She's a clinical psychologist for the Navy. She specializes in trauma. In the wake of the tragedy, she started a support group for survivors. It has met every Monday for six months. As front of our pursed person series, she told us her story. I was invited by some girlfriends from the country skiing, and it was one of their one of my girlfriends birthday. We were close to the front of the stage. The first round of gun fire, went off. He kept singing. Most of us, we noticed it. We wrote it off. He thought it was fireworks. The third round went off. We were crowding in. I could hear and feel the bullets over my head. There was a longer break. The people with me, we decided to run. This is where it gets fuzzy. And remember getting up, and taking the first few steps and singing an enormous pool of blood. It is almost like I blinked out everything else because that is the one thing I remembered. I remember blood running off the turf. I felt like if I fled, I would not move fast enough. I had the worst cottonmouth I could imagine. I felt like I could not read. We crawled behind some food trucks. We were probably among the last of the people to get pulled off the menu. We saw police officers that were screaming get off the ground. Get off the ground now. They were hurting us into the back of the truck. I got separated from the second group of people. Iran into an off-duty LAPD officer. He was talking to a group of us. He said, we have got to run out. Have got to go. Roll under a truck. Roll under whatever you can fit under. I went out with a group. I rolled under a truck. I really felt like this was it. As I laid there on my stomach under the truck, I thought oh my gosh. I'm going to die. I'm going to die under the truck. What I teach my patients to do is, [ Indiscernible ] what I found out later, one of the gentlemen that was next to me, for two weeks, when I talked about it, when I described the experience was, we started running and we were maneuvering off the turf. It did not occur to me, why I kept using that word, maneuvering. He asked me, do you remember all the bodies? Do you remember what you were maneuvering around? Not too long ago, a few weeks ago, he sent a picture. He sent a picture of what we were maneuvering around. That made it more real. I am not trained for combat. I am very well trained for the aftermath of combat. 1% of the population had a doctorate degree for smaller percentage of that or people with psychology degrees. A smaller percentage of those folks, live in San Diego. And even smaller percentage of those folks, specialize in trauma. All those people were specialized, how many like country music? How many of them were at the concert? It occurred to me, because the whole week went by, I did not hear anything about support groups. I realized I might be it. It is not a choice. It did not feel like a choice. It felt like the right thing to do. It felt like the only thing to do. It was an important part of my recovery. I needed my community, as much as they needed me.
>> Tomorrow we will hear more about how the support has helped survivors. That first-person feature was produced by Michael Lipton.