Iraq war veteran Justin Lampert, was the first to tackle the shooter at the Las Vegas hotel New York, New York. Cool story, this guy was enjoying himself on vacation and ran towards the guy everyone was running away from.
At first, Justin Lampert thought the popping sounds he heard were coming from an electronic game at the Las Vegas casino where he had been eating a hot dog. When a crowd of panicked people stampeded past, he realized it was something more serious.
It was then the Iraq war veteran saw a bearded, older man, dressed in a light-colored trench coat, walking behind the fleeing casino-goers. Lampert said the man’s hair was tousled as if he’d just gotten out of bed, and his stroll and nonchalant demeanor was a sharp contrast to the chaos.
He passed Lampert on his right, about 20 yards away, then turned to look at him. Lampert saw a 9 mm pistol and observed the man attempting to reload.
“He said, `I’m going to … kill you,'” Lampert said Saturday. “We made eye contact and I took off after him. I just kind of dumped him.”
Lampert was the first tackler among a group of men who subdued Steven Zegrean, 51, of Las Vegas, accused of wounding four people in a random fusillade of bullets early Friday at the New York-New York casino. No one was seriously hurt.
Lampert, 24, is a staff sergeant in the North Dakota Army National Guard and a student at North Dakota State University, majoring in zoology with a minor in criminal justice. He hopes to graduate this winter.
He served in Iraq from March 2004 until February 2005, clearing roadside bombs near Balad, north of Baghdad.
A native of Crosby, in North Dakota’s northwestern corner, Lampert had been in Las Vegas since Wednesday for the bachelor party of a friend who is getting married later this month.
Lampert said he tackled Zegrean and got him in a choke hold. Zegrean’s gun dropped behind him, out of his field of vision. He said Zegrean was squirming, looking for his gun and was on the verge of freeing himself when Lampert stuck the fingers of his right hand in Zegrean’s mouth.
Another man, David James, a Navy Reservist from Jacksonville, Fla., rushed up. “He got the gun out of there, and he kicked the guy and the guy let go of my fingers,” Lampert said.
Two other men, Robert and Paul Ura, who are agents for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, also came to help.