SIU grad near Las Vegas massacre reflects - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

SIU grad near Las Vegas massacre reflects

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CARBONDALE -- When one Illinois couple flew out to Las Vegas for their honeymoon, they had no idea how close they would come to the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.

"It almost seemed surreal like it wasn't really happening," SIU grad Steve Berczynski said during a phone interview, using the word "numb" to describe his emotions. "I'm actually in the room right now looking at the window at Mandalay Bay with the window blown out."

The couple was so close, they could hear the concert music from their room, and then it stopped.

"There was no more music, again, we didn't really think anything of it, we just assumed the concert was over," he said. 

They called it a night then woke up around 4 a.m. on Sunday to missed calls from concerned family members.

"And at that point I called my mom and my sisters back and turned the TV on," he said.

And that's when they learned how close they'd come to the chaos.

At least 59 people died and more than 520 others were injured after a gunman opened fire on a musical festival in Las Vegas. 

U.S. flags have been lowered at half-staff across the country in honor of the victims of the mass shooting, including on SIU's campus.

"They go to a concert thinking they're going to have a good time, and many did not get to return home to their families and friends," said SIU Dean of Students Jennifer Jones-Hall. 

She helped organize a candle light vigil on campus Monday night for the victims. 

Meantime, Berczynski mourns what took place just down the street from his hotel.

"It's a terrible, terrible tragedy," Berczynski said. "So we want to send our thoughts and prayers to everyone and hope everyone stays safe."

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