Documentary Explores Route 91 Harvest Festival Tragedy on Five-Year Anniversary

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

A new documentary, 11 Minutes, examines tragic events around the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, which left 60 people dead and more than 800 wounded and is the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in U.S. history.

Marking the five-year anniversary of the country music festival tragedy, the four-part special on Paramount+ explores the tragic event through videos, eyewitness reports, and other materials.  

“I’ve never felt more useful or more like the universe put me exactly where I was supposed to be,” said Ashley Hoff, lead producer of 11 Minutes and a survivor of the attack, who was with her husband Shaun watching Jason Aldean perform when they first heard the gunfire.

Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, had opened fire on the crowd from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, firing more than 1,000 bullets into the audience of thousands of concertgoers who had gathered, for 11 minutes.

At first, Hoff and her husband thought they were hearing fireworks but soon realized that it was gunshots when she witnessed a bullet hit someone in the face. At one point, Hoff remembers kicking off her boots so she could run faster, and to safety with her husband. The two survived, but the tragic event left Hoff, who was already a filmmaker, longing to cover what happened from the perspective of the victims instead of the news reports, which were heavily focused on the gunman.

In cooperation with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, 11 Minutes documents the event featuring police body camera recordings and cell phone footage from the day, including videos of first-responder medical teams and the police closing in on the gunman, who ultimately shot himself, in his hotel room.

For the first two hours of the film, there’s no narration and no footage pulled from TV news stations. Instead, the story is told by survivors of the attack, including country singer Jason Aldean, who was on stage performing at the time of the attack, as well as police and paramedics, musicians, and others who were in attendance.

Natalie Grumet and Jonathan Smith, who were both seriously injured in the attack, share their stories, in addition to SiriusXM host Storme Warren, who was onstage in Las Vegas the night of the event and initially turned down being part of the film.

“Is it easy to watch?” said Warren, who also did not like the media coverage following the attack and has been coping with post-traumatic stress disorder since the event. “No, but it shouldn’t be easy to watch. I don’t know why you would tell the story if it were easy to watch.”

Photo: Paramount+

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