Jonathan Smith, the 30-year-old Black man who saved 30 lives during Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, was reunited with the San Diego officer who rescued him on Tuesday.
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During an emotional on-air reunion, Smith sat down via satellite with CNN host Erin Burnett, who surprised him by welcoming Officer Tom McGrath via telephone.
59 people were killed while over 500 were injured after gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on Sunday night.
Smith was hit by two bullets in the process of rescuing 30 people when McGrath, an off duty officer, pulled Smith to safety and even blocked one of Smith’s gunshot wounds with his fingers.
Smith, taken over with visible emotion, wiped tears away from his eyes as McGrath commended him for his bravery.
“He’s somebody who inspires me. I know he might not want to give himself all the credit, but he definitely did a wonderful job, and I was just happy to be there to help him towards the end, and get him out of there when he was hit,” McGrath said.
“I remember saying, ‘I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die,’ and he kept saying, ‘You’re not going to die, I got you,” Smith said.
Smith downplayed his heroic efforts during the interview and thanked everyone for the well wishes he’s received from around the world.
“Everyone’s been using that word — ‘hero.’ I’ve been saying it since the whole time I got home — I’m not a hero, I’m far from a hero. I think I just did what anybody would do,” he said.
The two men had spoken over the phone previously and now call each other “brother” because of their shared experience.
“It’s stuff like that I won’t forget. I owe him my life,” Smith said.
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