Jonathan Smith

In every tragedy, there are people who deserve to be remembered.

Heroes and villains are made. After the horrific shooting in Las Vegas that took dozens of lives and injured hundreds more, tales of immense bravery and sacrifice are beginning to be told.

One concertgoer, Jonathan Smith, may have to live with a bullet in his neck for the rest of his life. But Smith considers himself one of the lucky ones. Smith is a copy machine repairman from California who was visiting his country music-loving family in Las Vegas to attend the Route 91 Harvest country music festival.

In total, nine members of his family were at the Jason Aldean concert when shots began to ring out. Smith's first instinct was to make sure that his young nieces and nephews were safe, which he did. Then did something truly incredible happened — he went running back to save strangers.

According to The Washington Post:

Smith was focused on saving his nieces — 22, 18 and 17 years old — but they separated in the crowd. He says he turned back toward the stage to look for them, he saw people hunched behind a sheriff patrol car at the northwest edge of the concert lawn. Others were so frightened they didn’t know what to do. He kept shouting, “Active shooter, active shooter, let’s go! We have to run.”

He grabbed people and told them to follow him toward a handicapped parking area in the direction of the airport, away from Las Vegas Boulevard. It was a large field with several rows of vehicles. Smith and the others crouched down behind one of the last rows of cars.

“I got a few people out of there,” Smith said. “You could hear the shots. It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard.”

Then, attempting to help others, Smith himself was struck with a bullet.

A few young girls weren’t fully hidden. He stood up and moved toward them to urge them to get on the ground. That’s when a bullet struck him in the neck.

“I couldn’t feel anything in my neck. There was a warm sensation in my arm,” said Smith from the Sunrise Hospital lobby Monday afternoon as he was waiting for his final discharge. He has a fractured collarbone, a cracked rib and a bruised lung. The doctors are leaving the bullet in his neck for now. They worry moving it might cause more damage.

Smith ultimately credits a police officer with saving his life:

Smith believes an off-duty San Diego police officer likely saved his life. The officer came over and tried to stop the bleeding and then flagged down passing cars to try to get Smith a ride. Many just drove by, but a pickup truck stopped and Smith was put in the back of it along with several other wounded victims. By then, he was struggling to breathe.

“I really didn’t want to die,” Smith recalled. The off-duty officer kept telling him he would be okay, just as he had said a few minutes earlier to other concertgoers.

This photo of Smith has gone viral, getting retweeted over 120,000 times:

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