By Mai Hoang
Yakima Herald-Republic, Wash.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A Yakima entrepreneur who was in Las Vegas during the time of the shooting, describes what she experienced that night and how it affected her days after she returned home to Washington.
On Sunday night, Chelann Gienger, co-owner of NUYU Juice Bar in Yakima, returned to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas after a fun girls night out with friends. She was in Vegas to attend Thrive: Make Money Matter, an entrepreneurs conference.
As Gienger and her friends entered the hotel, where they were staying, she noticed a television news headline: “Active Shooter at Mandalay Bay.”
That headline came to life when Gienger encountered a frantic and upset woman in the hotel bathroom.
The woman shared that she was bartending at a country music festival outside Mandalay Bay when she heard gunshots.
The woman decided to run to the Hard Rock, which was about a half-mile away. She said she continued to hear gunshots and passed several victims on the way to the hotel.
“I was like, ‘OK, this is real,'” Gienger said.
After calling her parents to let them know she was safe, Gienger, who is a Christian, said she felt God was calling her to take action and make sure her friends and other conference attendees were safe. She rounded up everyone she knew and had them go to one conference attendee’s suite.
Over the course of the night and into the next day, additional conference attendees came into the room. The group listened to a police scanner for updates. Everyone prayed, regardless of religious beliefs, she said.
Gienger and a friend who also attended the conference decided to stick to their original plan to leave early Monday and headed to the airport about 3 a.m. Friends told them it was not safe to be out in the streets, but Gienger wanted to return to Yakima as soon as possible.