Former Willow Creek Resident Shelters People Fleeing From Las Vegas Shooter

Refugees from the shooting

Refugees from the shooting tonight in Las Vegas huddle together in a Hooters Motel room. [Photo provided by Frank Johnson]

Last night, after what is believed to be the largest mass shooting in modern US history where police are saying at least 50 people died, a group of strangers huddled together in the motel room of Frank Johnson who is a former resident of Willow Creek. Johnson is staying at the Hooters Motel a couple blocks from the shooting.

The group gathered in Johnson’s room were concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival when a shooter began firing from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Rob Brink from Colorado spoke to us via phone from Johnson’s motel room. He told us that a friend he attended the concert with was shot in the foot and is now in the hospital. “We were actually on the ground watching the concert,” he explained. “We thought it was firecrackers at first.” Then, when his group realized what was happening, everyone fled. “We got out of the area,” Brink said. “We could still hear shots…The shooter kept going…It was terrible. It was unbelievable to be where people are getting shot and lives are on the line and we are running.”

Johnson, whose daughter, Clover Willison, is a business owner in Garberville, said that he was in his motel room at the Hooters Casino when he heard the first shots. “It sounded like a jackhammer,” he explained. “I think it did it four times…I went to my balcony then a couple of minutes later there were herds of people running…I saw thousands of people running…There was a steady stream of people for 10 minutes. There was a countless number of police, fire trucks, ambulances running around.”

As Johnson was watching, he heard a noise at the end of the hall. He opened his door and saw four women nearby. “I asked if they needed help,” he said. The women said they had fled from the concert and there were others who needed a place to stay, too. Johnson invited the 12 concertgoers into his room.

As of 12:46 a.m., the former strangers were exchanging stories about their experiences in Johnson’s room. Here’s more on the shooting including video from the concert scene.

[This post has been updated to reflect the latest information as of 6 a.m. Monday morning.]

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65 comments

  • This story shows the compassion of humanity in the face of evil and sickness. May the shooter’s soul never be at peace.

  • It’s all so fucked up.😭😭😭I have friends there.😭😭

  • Tragic Massacre ! 10 minutes of automatic fire on civilians. What has this once great country become?

    • If you were a Sioux 150 years ago you would be familiar with what our country has always been, eh?
      Congress is contemplating legalizing silencers and making all states honor other state’s concealed carry permits.
      It will likely get worse before it gets better

      • Stupid people talk nonsense

        There’s always someone on here who has to try to divert the terror and issues other people are facing to further discuss something that happened to someone else hundreds of years ago…

    • Always going to be crazies. The trick here is to help those affected and condemn anyone who wants to use this horrible tragedy to spout political rants- regardless of which way you lean. We need to act like ONE nation right now, populated by Americans. No left, no right, no middle. Just us people.

      • Thanks for this. Unity trumps divisiveness. E Pluribus Unum.

      • Sleeper agent. Do u think 911 was an inside job…then why not this? To control the masses present them with fear,then disarm them. Sorry my beliefs in the constitutional 2nd amendment still stand firm. A truly sad day for our country no matter the cause or motive

        • Stupid people talk nonsense

          Wow.

          • See. Gun control talk. What I better way to convert a bunch of trump voting pro gun rednecks. Make em second guess. Sleeper agent? Hmmm. Well our government killed 3000 lives in 9/11 for world policing and the “patriot” act which abolished hundreds of freedom acts. People followed blindly and if u didnt u were labeled a terrorist

    • American Killing Fields

      Las Vegas and Ken Burn’s Vietnam. If you can think about yourself in the crowd of people in Las Vegas when the gunman started firing. Think about 100 shooters firing at you with automatic weapons. Then consider being surprised with being in a fire fight that happened during your 13 months in Vietnam. Imagine you are a North Vietnamese soldier witnessing the same except they are dodging bombs, artillery, napalm and helicopter rockets. Unreal any of us survive. Just how American is all of this?

  • My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting.

  • 250 to 300 people at Wounded Knee.

  • Dam antidepressants

    • Thinking allowed

      Enough people have said this that it sure should be that every murderer’s autopsy should include a pharmacology test and a history obtained for study.

  • I feel terribly sorry for the victims of this mass shooting. I feel today like the survivor/s and relatives of the victims of every other shooting, knifing, killing, hatred … and probably so do you. A mix of grief, gratitude and an off-balance feeling of “why am I alive” when so many are not. Please today, hug your children, your grandchildren, random strangers – practice acts of kindness. It’s all we have. We are powerless over the great forces pushing on us, but local love and regional kindness can help each of us heal.

    Oh and if you have an automatic weapon; how about turning it in or rendering it useless? They’re obviously not for deer hunting anymore.

    • Oh yeah…that’s a great idea! So when some nut job all faded on anti-depressants starts unloading, I won’t be able to protect my family or you🤔 and if you think that somehow you’re impervious to random violence, well..whatevs✌️ There is nothing wrong with having a powerful, fast firing weapon for self/others protection. TV talking points may not be good to constantly ingest and repeat

    • Timothy McVeigh's ghost

      That’s the stated goal “turn them in”. Not going to happen ever.
      The powers that be salivate at the prospect of an unarmed America

    • you are right they aren’t for deer hunting, they are for protecting friends, family, and people who don’t have one. O and you can use them for hunting too.

    • Stupid people talk nonsense

      Polly pup…. weapons aren’t the issue, and we damn sure shouldn’t turn in our firearms because some whacko shot people somewhere. The person usin the weapons is the heart of the cause. Folks who blame guns instead of the people are a prime example of why this country is struggling so badly in today’s society. Shame on you

  • Killing is not a valid solution.................

    There is a virus of killings in this world. And it is getting worse. The question is why. The value of human life is losing to this virus. Even in our own community people are using killing as a solution to problems. The worst person has someone(s) who loved them. And maybe that’s a clue. We are losing our capacity to find value and love for each other. That this world has become a place of “it’s all about me” and not about “us”. The social fabric of our society and the world in general is being corrupted from the inside. The social infrastructure is beginning to come apart. We have few leaders who are interested in anything other than becoming rich at the expense of the masses. America is becoming a place of those who have and the majority who have not, The same is true for the Middle East, Africa, South America and a dozen other places. If this is going to stop it has to start with US! Select elite groups of “haves” at insulating themselves from the “have nots” and the rest of us are killing each other. Until we value all life around us the occurrences of taking a life will not stop, but the momentum will only get worse.

    • So this guy shot into a crowd of blue collar people because of what he didn’t have and he thought these people did,maybe it’s a simpler reason like just too many people on drugs ,never seen an addict that gave 2 shits about another person’s life

      • Stupid people talk nonsense

        Dude actually is quite wealthy. Doubt he shot all those people due to being unhappy about what he “doesn’t have”

  • My daughter was one of the first girls he let in. Thank you so much for sheltering them! We finally were able to breathe once she called us to say they were in your safe room. And, another blessing was that you shared your phone charger so everyone could stay in touch with their loved ones. Gratitude from the bottom of our hearts

    • We’re so glad your daughter is well. Thank you for reaching out.

    • Joyce Akhtarkhavari

      Diane, this story made me cry as I thought of Jazae and her friends and I am so grateful for this compassionate stranger.

    • I was with your daughter and her friends that night! Brave girls! I hope they are doing well with all they went through. Way too young to have experienced that tragedy. I pray for them every day!

  • Gun control would not have stopped this man. Anyone hell bent on killing will find a weapon.

  • Heavy heart. My Condolences to all the family’s and to everyone that was their and witnessed this horrible attack. God bless you all. And all the hero’s you are rock stars.

  • Ok let’s take a moment here and look at things rationally. In our past history (let’s say mid 1800 ) Just about everyone had a firearm. That was your neibor, the guy down town, ECT. You had to have it to survive. Yes there were BAD people back then, and they did bad things. But most people did nothing more then protect and feed their families. Then a few people desided that guns are dangerous and BAD, and those few convinced someone in government that they needed to regulate the people with guns. Now every year more regulations are pleased on guns and the people that own them. Why? Because a few nut jobs and BAD guys do bad things? Just because a person owns a gun does not mean they are going to go on a killing spree. Let’s be real BAD guy are not going to follow the law, that’s why they are criminals in the first place. Look a New York. They took away guns from their citizens and it did NOT change the numbers of shootings that occurred. It actually increased. Your lying to yourself if you thing gun control will fix the problem. It won’t. Not even a little. Guns aren’t BAD. Guns don’t soot people. People shoot people. There will always be bad people out there doing bad things. Take away the guns, then the knifes, maybe even the cars we drive, and some nut case will use a shovel or hammer. Education would be a better choice if you really want to fix the problem. Or better yet mental health conform and treatment. After all it’s the crazy out there that do this stuff. Honestly not one of my guns has ever killed a human. But if someone or some animal threatens me or my family by the time the officers ( with a gun) it will be to late.

  • When I moved to Humboldt 14 years ago I was struck by how friendly and generous the people were. Thanks, Frank, for following that tradition. You’re a hero even if you don’t think so.

  • shawn the fisherman

    The looks on those peoples faces, Says it all! Glad to be alive! Nice pic of positive survivors. Dust yourselves off and carry on in defiance of this turd.

  • Make it harder to get bullets. There should be one place only to buy bullets,that way they should know who there selling to,and what their for. Unless your military or a cop you don’t need a gun like the one the gunmen used.just saying

    • What about a law abiding citizen with no criminal record like my self who actually shoots a lot of bullets because I train on how to use a firearm. Im also 2 hours away from lawinforcement and…..P.S. G mas, this is America. Go lay on your back. The government will save you… tell them what the bullets are for???? Lol 😂

      • Well law abiding folks could.and go lay on my back,that’s rude and you should have your mouth washed out with soap😤

        • G-Mas is a little behind the times. That place to buy bullets she speaks of is Kalifornia. After the first of the year you won’t be able to buy them without the KGB knowing when, where, what caliber and how many. AK’s will be the gun of choice in the future, as it will be foreign ammo being sold on the black market by the cartels and other smugglers. They will make sure ammo gets into the hands of criminals first. Guns are here to stay lady. It’s just a matter of which one do you want to get shot with in Kalifornia, because we are loosing our right to self protection. Jerry Brown’s ideas on gun control have been in place in Mexico for many years, and the bad guys run a very large portion of that place thanks to those stupid, stupid ideas.

          • Guest,why do people need ak-47’s or a machine gun?? Look everyone in my family for generations hunted.im the one that doesn’t like it.THATS ME,not you or who ever.im old not stupid!!

  • Diane, I heard the gunshots and witnessed 30,000 people running for their lives with nowhere to go . The Tropicana hotel was completely full of people that they let in and they had to turn people away next hotel over was mine it quickly filled with thousands of people downstairs all the casinos were completely locked down your daughter and her were told to get in the elevator go upstairs and knock on doors to find some place to stay. I feel that I am the lucky one that was able to Open that door and say come on in . They were part of a group that’s survived The worst mass shooting in US history. It will forever change their lives. I am just happy that I could give them A safe and secure place to spend four hours the Las Vegas strip and surround because he knows or a madhouse rumors flying people running at least I could give a little stability to a small handful of kids. Why did it cost me? No sleep but what the heck this is Las Vegas you’re not supposed to sleep

    • ❤️ Dad this is exactly what makes you, you and why we all love you so much. Everyone always knows Frank’s door is open and he will provide a safe place regardless of the circumstances. Strangers in Vegas is no different. Your big heart is one of my favorite characteristics. Though we know you didn’t do this for the recognition it is sweet to see you get a little appreciation for who you are every day.

    • Proud Deplorable Grandma

      Thank you sir.

    • Frank, I was one you let in your room and I can tell you that the first time we felt safe once the attack began was when you opened your door and graciously let all of us in. We did not think anyone would open their door to strangers in that situation but you opened your door to 12 strangers. All of our lives are changed forever by the memories of that night but I will forever be thankful that you let us in where we could feel safe. Bless you!

  • Gun grabbers are coming out of the woodwork once again and will try to use this tragedy to disarm Amerika… to consolidate their power. I say…… …come and get em but they get the lead too included for FREE-dom.

  • You know, I went back and read all the articles I could find on this guy and nothing mentioned anything about him being depressed or taking antidepressants. Where did you folks get that information? About 15% of all Americans are depressed and most take some drug for it because the drugs work. Depressed people are no more likely to kill anyone than anyone else. Well, that’s not completely true, they have a higher rate of suicide. But there is no evidence that depressed people or people taking antidepressants are more likely to kill others.

  • Oh, and yeah, 400,000,000 guns and counting, that’s more than one for each and every person in these United States. When do we have enough?

  • Oh and thanks to Frank for his decency and concern for others.

  • This guy had 18 guns in his rooms,and 16 more at his homes. Bomb making material.shouldnt the government be aware of how many guns this guy bought legally?How many guns do you need?NUTS

  • Thinking allowed

    To really tighten gun regs without playing fast and loose with the Constitution to all our detriment, unfortunately it needs an Amendment. Formal.

    Yet the idea of opening the Constitution in the current irrational public environment means that anything might be changed. That is scary.

  • I am not talking taking anybody’s guns but when the 2nd amendment was ratified the main long gun was a muzzle loading musket. An experienced shooter could get off 2 shots a minute. A professional soldier might get 3. Don’t think the framers envisioned a guy machine gunning a crowd of thousands or spraying off a room full of second graders. If you really think there’s a conspiracy to take your weapons so big brother can take over the country then there is nothing I can say to you except I am sorry you feel that way and I’m glad I’m not you. I ,by the way ,own guns.

  • I’m so proud to say this “compassionate stranger” is my Uncle. He was also texting all of the family in a group text reaching out to us in Oregon, Kansas, Colorado, Tennessee and California as this horrific event played out. As humble as he is, he won’t feel he did anything that you wouldn’t do. In his heart he knows he was there for a reason….And I know he would do it a hundred times over to ensure any child’s safety. I’ll go as far as to say that his actions and purpose for being there are larger and deeper than most would understand……..he was there that day to help, protect and shelter your child. He may have given you the biggest gift as a parent, another day with your son or daughter so you don’t have to endure the pain the other parents will, just as he did losing his own 16 year old daughter tragically over 35 years ago. So thank you Uncle Frank, another real American Hero! I love you!

  • Thank you Kym for posting this story. The photo is wonderful. Frank you were truly a hero for these people. Your family speaks of you with such high regard! The world is a better place having you in it. The good news and happy photo in the wake of tragedy was uplifting to read tonight.

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