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San Diego Marines honored for heroism in Las Vegas mass shooting

Posted at 7:03 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-29 22:49:24-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Two San Diego Marines were honored Monday for their life-saving efforts during the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting.

Both country fans, Sgt. Austin Cox and former Sgt. Michael Vura were at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival when the shots broke out.

"Initially I thought that the music had just malfunctioned," remembers Vura.

But confusion quickly turned into the realization that the concert venue had become a war zone.

"Really right when we knew we looked at each other. I said, you know, we've got to go. He knew exactly what I meant," said Sgt. Cox.

Rather than running away from danger, they ran towards it, immediately trying to move injured concert-goers out of the line of fire.

One victim they encountered was 23-year-old Katrina Hannah who had been shot in her arm and neck.

“She was the first person we came across that had a serious life-threatening injury, said Cox. "I knew I needed to stay with her.”

Cox created a makeshift stretcher out of a gate and was able to get Hannah out of the venue and to a hospital where he stayed for hours.

“We really as a family believe she would not be here if it wasn’t for Austin," said Hannah's mother, Loreto. “He is a hero and an angel, for sure.”

Vura continued to help others, administering tactical combat casualty care to three gunshot wound victims. He also made multiple trips evacuating causalities using concert barricades.

"I was ready to go drink some beer and listen to Jason Aldean, and then that happened, and it became the realest moment of my life," said Vura.

They were each awarded The Navy and Marine Corps Medal, the highest non-combat decoration awarded for heroism by the United States Department of the Navy to the members of the Navy and Marine Corps.