Canadian shot in head at Vegas concert begins long trip home
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Braden Matejka, a Canadian who was shot in the head in the weekend attack on a country music festival, left Las Vegas Wednesday on a 22-hour road trip back home.
Matejka, a heavy duty mechanic and welder from Lake Country, British Columbia, told The Associated Press in a hospital interview on Wednesday that his ongoing symptoms prevent him from flying for 10 days.
He left the city later in the day with his girlfriend and his parents, who flew to Las Vegas to drive the couple home.
At least four Canadians have been reported killed in the assault on concertgoers. No additional non-fatal injuries have been reported.
Matejka, who is employed in the oil, mining and natural gas industry, and his girlfriend Amanda Homulos, 23, had traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate his 30th birthday. She was unharmed in the attack.
After the shooting began that night, they were leaving a tent where they had sought shelter with others when Matejka was struck by a bullet.
“The angle must have caught me just perfectly because it knocked me down, right on my face, and I said, ‘I think I got shot, babe I got shot,‘” he recalled. “She said ‘Where?’ I said, ‘The back of the head,’ and she looked and right down my whole back was completely soaked already in blood.”
Matejka said he was helped by police, who flagged down a local woman and put the couple in her vehicle.
The driver, April Vasquez, had been attending the Sunday night concert with her boyfriend and a niece.
The officer told her, “We have a person with a head injury.”
“I just said, ‘Put him in, just hurry,’” Vasquez recalled on Wednesday. “I knew we had to act quick.”
Vasquez added, “I myself barely missed getting shot, a bullet braised my back so I’m not sure how I kept it together. I felt like I was needing to help and my adrenaline, shock was so high.”
Matejka said, “I don’t think I have ever seen someone drive so fast through the city, through red lights and got me there safe and sound within probably five minutes of this whole ordeal happening.
“I was one of the first people in the ER room,” he added.
Matejka said he still feels wobbly, his head hurts and he’ll have to cancel plans for a new project in the Yukon.
But he said he’s been amazed by the support of people who say they’re praying for him.
Vasquez also said she feels grateful.
“I’m just lucky we made it out alive, all of us,” she said. “I have just gained a lifetime friend, I’ve already told him my next stop is Canada.”