Local survivors of Las Vegas shooting describe how their lives have changed

Surviving the attack made these victims appreciate the small things in life.

KUSA - It's the perfect Denver day. The sun is shining and the butterflies are out. 
 
"This is beautiful," Todd Riley said. "You can't take it for granted." 
 
"I think making it out of that situation...I think it gives you whole new perspective," Mike Grapner said. "The mundane things become celebrated." 
 
Riley is the assistant principal at Century Middle School in Thornton; Grapner is an 8th grade teacher there. They were in Las Vegas over the weekend and attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival where dozens ended up dead. 
 
"When it happens to you and your life literally flashes before you eyes and you think about your kids and everybody that you love," Grapner said. "It's overwhelming."
 
Like those initial moments of gunfire. 
 
"We hit the ground immediately," Grapner remembers. 
 
"And we're looking going, 'what's going on?' and someone said 'they're shooting,'" Riley said. "Then it registered and I heard pop, pop, pop and then it turned over to automatic gunfire."
 
"The shooting stopped, we got up we started running, again the shooting started again," Grapner said. 
 
"There's no time to think," Riley said. "The only thing that kept going through my mind was 'where's my fiance? I can't find her, where is she?'"
 
Todd ran back into the concert area to find her.
 
"There's a lady running at us and all of a sudden she falls," he said. 
 
Riley and another man tried to resuscitate her.
 
"She's down, I think she's dead," Riley remembered. "We pick her up put her in the wheelbarrow and I just start running with her." 
 
As he got closer to the street Todd noticed his left leg was burning. Todd was hit with bullet fragments. 
 
He was taken to the hospital where he was later reunited with his fiance...a moment he can't quite describe. 
 
"Relief, scared, scared more....any kind of emotion you can imagine was there and it flooded," Riley said. 
 
All six in Riley and Grapner's group survived. 
 
"We are blessed," Grapner said. 
 
And that's what they choose to focus on.
 
"There is bad stuff in the world,we get it but there a lot more good stuff," Grapner said. 
 
"If anyone else can't focus on it, I can now," Riley said. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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