Three friends who survived the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting in Las Vegas reunited at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California last weekend where they escaped another mass shooting, CNN reported Thursday.
Brothers Christopher and George Cook reportedly attended the outdoor country music concert in 2017 when a gunman opened fire on the crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 people and injured more than 500 others.
They later connected with another survivor named Alicia Olive on a Facebook support group, CNN noted, adding that they have since developed a tight bond.
“My brother and I have never had sisters, but Alicia has made such an impact on our lives,” Christopher Cook said.
They reportedly decided to meet up and attend the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, a three-day event that attracts thousands of people, last Sunday, when a gunman killed three people and injured 12 others.
The gunman, identified by police as 19-year-old Santino William Legan, was killed less than a minute later by officers. Investigators in Nevada have reportedly found evidence indicating an intent to carry out a large-scale attack as well as white supremacist and radical Islamic literature in the suspect’s home.
Olive told CNN she had spiraled into a depression after the Las Vegas shooting but that she had recently started recovering after she moved to California.
The Gilroy Garlic Festival was the first time she let her guard down in a big, public event, she said.
“I don’t know how it’ll be when I go out [now],” she said. “But I know I feel a lot of the same things as I did when Vegas happened.”
The trio escaped unharmed a second time but said the Gilroy shooting has taken a toll on them mentally.
“You think you’re grateful for everything you have until something like this happens,” Christopher Cook told the network.
He added that while he takes precaution at festivals or outdoor events now by finding the closest exit wherever he is, he doesn’t want people to stop enjoying these fun events.
Olive said she is going to dedicate herself to supporting survivors of gun violence and advocating for stricter gun laws because “there’s a reason why I’m still here today.”