LAS VEGAS (KLAS)–Many lives were changed on 1 October however, one local man claims that night changed him for the better.
Mark Strickland shared his story of motivation and his passion for giving back after he was shot at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1, 2017.
“It’s not harder. You don’t really get over it. You learn to live with it,” said Strickland.
Strickland said October 1 will forever be a reminder of the mass shooting in Las Vegas that changed his life. His home was decorated with Route 91 Harvest Festival memorabilia as he remembered what he and his wife endured that night.
“There was a heightened sense of alertness. First thing I saw was someone letting balloons go and it sounds like fireworks going off inside a trashcan. The crowd didn’t move correctly,” explained Strickland.
The gunman fired more than 1,000 bullets into the crows of 22,000 from the 32nd for of Mandalay Bay.
“We laid there for a little bit,” said Strickland. When asked if he knew he got hit he said: ” Yes because it hurt my arm and I was on top of her and it peeled me off.”
Strickland was brought to Desert Springs Hospital for treatment,
“Looking down at what happened, same time when the draped were hanging out of the hotel We saw that from our hotel room and said wow,” Strickland said.
Strickland says a conversation with a friend in law enforcement helped him make a change in his life. At 50, he turned his focus on improving his mental and physical health and enrolled in the Law Enforcement Academy.
“It was a great experience and I thought what am I doing? It’s hard, all the laws, it’s rough. Then I just did it. I harden my focus and graduated,” said Strickland.
Strickland is now proudly serving as a Deputy Constable with the Laughlin Township since 2018.
“I feel that if I wasn’t where I was, the bullet would have hit someone else. Where that person was laying where they were, I don’t think they would have made it,” said Strickland.
He received a second chance at a new life that he says is all due to that night and the bullet he took which he now keeps as a reminder and a motivation to give back.