NCSU grad recovering after being shot during Las Vegas mass shooting

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017
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A recent NC State University graduate is recovering in a Las Vegas hospital after being shot in the hip, running for her life Sunday night.

LAS VEGAS (WTVD) -- A recent NC State University graduate is recovering in a Las Vegas hospital after being shot in the hip while running for her life Sunday night.

Jenna DeCandio, 22, a Cary native, was at the festival with her parents who had bought her tickets to the Route 91 Harvest Festival as a graduation gift in May.

Jill DeCandio spoke with ABC11 by phone from her daughter's hospital room where she and her husband, George, have been by Jenna's bedside since she got out of surgery Monday.

"They discovered that it miraculously missed all her organs, it missed all arteries, veins," said DeCandio.

However, the bullet is still lodged in Jenna's hip and that's where it will stay as she begins to make a slow recovery.

The family of three was sitting on the handicap platform at the Jason Aldean concert Sunday night.

Jenna went to Vegas with a boot on her broken right foot and had been using a scooter to get around all weekend.

Shortly after 10 p.m., DeCandio said she heard a loud pop followed by what sounded like rapid gunfire.

"I'm like we are getting shot at, people are dying," DeCandio said of her thoughts in the chaos. "And I said we have gotta get her out of here. We gotta get our little girl out of here. We've got to go!"

In the dark, they continued to run among the thousands trying to escape the concert venue.

It wasn't until they reached a barbed wire fence at the edge of the airport that DeCandio said one of the bullets struck Jenna.

"I look down and on her left side, by her hip, was an enormous amount of blood," she said.

DeCandio wrapped a jean jacket she was carrying around her daughter and they made their way to a police officer.

"I said to the officer, 'She's been hit. We need help. She's bleeding,' said DeCandio. "And he said, 'Well ma'am, you need to sit down on the curb and we'll get to you.' And I look down and there were probably at that time 15 people already on that same curb that had various head wounds, chest wounds, arms, legs..."

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DeCandio said she remembers people coming up to them who said they were off-duty EMTs or nurses, trying to triage people sitting on the curb.

Ambulances escorted by SWAT teams started taking the wounded away.

Once at the hospital, DeCandio said she and her husband were separated from Jenna for several hours.

"People were walking around, family members and friends just dazed and confused, covered in blood," she said. "Blood of strangers, blood of loved ones - just head to toe."

Eventually, they were reunited with their daughter who'd been waiting on a stretcher in a hallway.

"She said, 'I'm doing fine mom, I'm doing fine. We're all together,'" said DeCandio. "I mean in the midst of things she was the calm one."

Jenna, who majored in fashion and textile design at NCSU, now lives in New Jersey. It's unclear how soon she'll be able to head home and her parents back to Cary.

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