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Aurora man who was wounded in the Vegas mass shooting holds a tribute for victims

Dustin Burkhardt still has a bullet in his leg
Posted at 4:39 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 19:43:59-04

AURORA, Colo. -- A Colorado man is on a journey to find healing after the mass shooting in Las Vegas nearly one year ago. Dustin Burkhardt, his wife Laurie, and their friends will be traveling to Vegas to mark the passage of one year since the massacre. 

Before they leave, Burkhardt will use his gig as a country music DJ to hold a tribute for the victims. He's a DJ at Stampede and the club is hosting a memorial night this Wednesday evening from 6 p.m. until 1:30 a.m.

"Tonight is going to be mostly about remembering what’s important in life and still praying for the friends and family of the 58 people who lost their lives that night and for the people who are still suffering even more than I am," said Burkhardt.

Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 were injured when a gunman opened fire while inside a Vegas hotel room. A crowd was gathered below for the Route 91 Harvest Festival and singer Jason Aldean was on stage.

Burkhardt is going to pause for a 58 second moment of silence to honor the victims. Some of his friends will say a prayer. He's also encouraging people to wear purple and orange, the colors associated with the festival. 

"I guess mostly what I'm hoping for is that people will just love each other 'cause there's so much ugly in the world, and not to let one person who decided to do this horrible, horrible thing you know, stop you from living," said Burkhardt as he reflects on the message he's hoping to get across at the club.

Burkhardt was shot in the leg and the pain is a constant reminder of that night. The bullet is still lodged in his left leg because it's in a spot that's too sensitive to remove. It missed an artery by three-eighths of an inch.

His wife Laurie was in their hotel room when the shooting started. He called her after he was shot and they stayed on the phone for 52 minutes during the chaos.

Laurie was on the same floor as the shooter and she described how the floor vibrated, "We were sitting on the floor... in the shower, in the bathroom, and you could feel on your feet the rapid fire of the machine gun."

The couple's trip this weekend will be their first time back in Las Vegas since the shooting. 

"It is part of my healing process," said Burkhardt. 

Burkhardt plans on retracing his steps and wearing some of the same clothes he had on that night.

"And so I wanted to walk everybody through from the time I got hit at 10:09 p.m. I wanted to just take everybody on a path and where I went down the street and where I sat and where I was at basically the whole time I was on the phone with Laurie," said Burkhardt.