NC man survives Las Vegas shooting, 9/11 attacks

Mike Dempsey survived one terror attack. He never dreamed he’d face another.

“I think there’s a reason or a higher purpose why I’m here,” said Dempsey.

Dempsey was in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He escaped after the first plane hit but was taken to the hospital with a fractured skull after being trampled. The image of people running for their lives came rushing back Sunday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where he was staying with friends.

“The casino indoors was mass hysteria,” said Dempsey. “I hadn’t seen panic like that in 16 years since I lived through 9/11.”

Dempsey, visiting from Raleigh, was outside by the pool when he heard what sounded like fireworks. Then, he said, “all hell broke loose.” Gun shots rained down 32 floors above his head.

“I was right under where he was firing so that was probably the scariest part,” he said. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this incident could have happened. But unfortunately it could happen anywhere, anytime.”

He says he ran through the casino, saw someone shot, and was put on lockdown for several hours inside a restaurant. He views what happened in Las Vegas as a terror attack and says he supports tighter gun laws.

“It’s a devastating incident and a reflection we need to have change,” he said. “Help the victims and the survivors and make some good come out of this horrific event.”