Oscar Silva and Jonathan Ramirez came in for their late-night shifts at Coco’s Bakery Restaurant in Las Vegas early on Sunday, expecting a rush after the Route 91 country festival at a concert ground a stone’s throw away wrapped up.
But instead of cooking up short orders and pouring coffee, they spent their night pulling terrified and wounded concertgoers to safety amid the pitter-patter of rapid gunfire.
"People came running in," Ramirez said. "People injured."
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The server, cook and another restaurant worker were among the dozens of heroes who have emerged since a gunman opened fire with weapons augmented to fire more quickly from a 32nd-floor window at the Mandalay Bay hotel onto the concertground 400 yards away, leaving 58 dead and more than 500 injured Sunday night.
Exclusive video from Coco’s, less than a half-mile from the concert venue, shows stacks of folding tables and chairs being used as barricades as dozens of scared and injured concertgoers take safe haven from the violence outside.
"I'm not no hero, man,” Silva said. “We were just doing what we were supposed to be doing."
Silva and Ramirez said their shift at the 24-hour diner and bakery was normal, until they heard what sounded like gunfire coming from a ways away; the restaurant is about three-quarters a mile from the Mandalay Bay tower where the shooter busted out two windows and opened fire. Then, a few minutes later, the people started streaming in.
"They’re saying, 'There’s a shooting happening,'" Ramirez recalled. "'There’s a shooting happening!'"
Silva added, "The people’s faces. People were just pale. Just in shock."
Ramirez, Silva, the third worker and some retired firefighters in the restaurant at the time jumped to action, flipping and stacking tables against doorways and windows and drawing the blinds as dozens of terrified and bloodied concertgoers hunkered down beneath booths and tables, unaware if they were safe or a gunman was heading their way.
"Everybody was scared," said Ramirez. "People were grabbing utensils."
Despite the uncertainty, the 24-year-old Ramirez refused to lock one of the doors so he and Silva could get more people inside, including a man with a bloodied shoulder and a woman who made it from the concert venue to to the restaurant.
"She was a champion," Ramirez said. "No struggling, no tears in her eyes."
He added, "I was trying to get as many people in as possible."
Silva said he tried to calm the scared and wounded, saying "you're safe now, you're good."
In the hours since, messages of gratitude for Ramirez, Silva and the others inside the cozy diner at the time have come pouring in.
Ramirez said for his part, said he was happy to help.
"I was truly serving people that day," Ramirez said. "I was making sure everybody was OK with the little things we have."