Couple from LA Sheriff’s Department say instincts kicked in when shots rang out

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Mick Akers

Lori Kammer, injured in the mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip on Oct. 1, and her husband, Todd, are employees of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. She is recovering at Sunrise Hospital.

Fri, Oct 13, 2017 (2 a.m.)

Law enforcement officials put their lives on the line every day on the job. The last place they would expect to be shot is while they’re enjoying themselves at a concert.

But this is what exactly happened to Lori Kammer, a 16-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who serves as a school resource officer at a pair of schools in Norwalk, Calif.

She was enjoying Jason Aldean’s set at the Route 91 Harvest Festival with her husband, Todd, who is a sergeant for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, when she was shot through her left hip by the gunman, who was across Las Vegas Boulevard on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay.

The bullet shattered her pelvis, went through her large and small intestines before lodging near her pancreas.

She was admitted in critical condition to Sunrise Hospital and underwent two surgeries since her arrival at the medical facility. Parts of her large and small intestines were taken out as result of bullet fragments.

“The first one was that night, and the second one was a couple of days later when hospital staff thought she might have an internal infection,” Todd said.

Despite her lengthy law enforcement career, nothing could have prepared Lori for what took place that night, but her experience helped her manage the chaotic situation.

“You still think about it when you get rounds (of bullets) going over your head and you’re ducking and telling everyone else to duck,” Lori said. “Most definitely (her instincts from her job training kicked in), I was telling everyone to run and to duck while the bullets were flying.”

“It was just crazy,” she said.

As the gunman continued his onslaught, Todd was unable to pinpoint her injury.

“I crawled over her, and I couldn’t find anything,” he said. “He kept shooting and shooting. And when he stopped shooting, we got up and ran. I made her run as fast as she could before she couldn't run anymore.”

The couple then sought refuge behind a pillar on Ali Baba Lane, using it as a shield from the gunfire.

“We used that as cover. So every time when he’d open fire, we’d duck in there,” he said.

The two ran as far as they could, until Lori was unable to run on her own because of the severity of her injury.

“I grabbed her, picked her up and ran the rest of the way,” Todd said. “Then I had to put her down to find out where her injury was,” he said.

Luckily, a woman who said she was a nurse was standing nearby as Todd discovered Lori’s wound, and she assisted in caring for her wound.

“We put a shirt on it and I put a koozie I had gotten from the 91 Festival, took my belt off and wrapped it around her,” Todd said.

After the shooting stopped, Todd picked up Lori and ran the rest of the way out of the festival area, ending up on Haven Street, where they took cover behind one of the two abandoned trucks there.

A woman who had died was inside the truck. Another woman and man who had been shot were also inside.

As the Kammers held position behind the truck, a Ford F-250 truck appeared. Todd began to help Lori and the other wounded concertgoers into the truck.

“I knew they were in bad shape, too,” Todd said. “We ended up getting all three of them (Lori, the wounded woman and wounded man) to the hospital and treated,” Todd said.

Despite the tragic situation, Todd said he saw the full spectrum of humanity in one night.

“You saw the worst in man, and yet you saw the good in man all around you,” Todd said, holding back tears. “You saw nothing but selfless acts. It was unbelievable. … You really saw the best in mankind.”

Show of support

Members from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department have made the trek to Las Vegas to show their support for the couple.

On Wednesday, two detectives with the department, Carl Anna and Alba Rodriguez were by their side in full uniform, as they enjoyed country music acts in the auditorium of Sunrise Hospital.

“I worked with Todd back in the late ’90s … and Lori came in a few years after that,” Anna said. “As soon as (the department) asked us to come out here, we thought it made sense because we’ve known them for so long. They’re friends and co-workers, and they are just really good people.”

Earlier this week, the two drove Todd around Las Vegas. When they went by the area near the festival site, Todd broke down when he told them where he saw people who were injured or dead.

Rodriguez said they knew that the Kammers’ police training would kick in, which likely saved the lives of others.

Anna and Rodriguez took Todd to the memorial of crosses behind the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, where he visited the cross of Rachael Parker of the Manhattan Beach Police Department in California, who was one of 58 killed in the gunfire.

“She was standing right next to them (before the shooting began), so it was pretty powerful stuff,” Rodriguez said.

With Todd spending every waking hour at his wife’s side, Rodriguez commended him, but joked about his personal hygiene during the week.

“No sleep, no food, no bathing and he finally took a shower,” Rodriguez said with a chuckle. “But in all seriousness, he has been an amazing husband to her. He is not leaving her side.”

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