Aurora man shot in Las Vegas stays on the phone with wife for 52 minutes during chaos

Victim, Dustin Burkhardt, is a country music DJ
Posted at 10:12 PM, Oct 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-07 17:30:45-04

AURORA, Colo. -- A local country music DJ stayed on the phone with his wife for 52 minutes after he was shot at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.

His wife was not far out of harm's way. She was in their hotel room at the Mandalay Bay; the couple was staying on the same floor as the shooter.

Dustin Burkhardt plays country music at an Aurora club called the Stampede. He's been a DJ there for the past seven years. Several months ago, Burkhardt and his wife Laurie made plans to attend the Vegas music festival with a group of friends from Colorado.

On the last day of the festival everyone went to the concert together. Laurie and some of her friends decided to go back up to their hotel room before Jason Aldean took the stage. Dustin decided to stay and watch the performance; he had made friends with some of the people standing by them.

"There was a crackling sound and I thought it was odd," said Dustin. "Then not shortly after that I heard another crackling and I was thinking that...— I was like, it just doesn't sound right, this doesn't feel right."

He said everyone around them hit the ground once they realized it was gunfire. He stood up and was shot in the leg about 10 to 15 seconds later.

Almost immediately after being shot, he picked up the phone and called his wife. He told her to stay in their hotel room because he believed the shots were coming from that direction. Little did he know the shooter was on the same floor as his wife.

"I wanted her to be safe because she’s my world and I knew where the shots were coming from," said Dustin.

His wife stayed in their hotel room, taking shelter in the bathroom.

"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," said Laurie.

Dustin continued to stay on the phone with his wife as medics attempted to treat him. He refused to get on the ambulance because he knew others needed it more than him. 

"And there’s a gentleman who was laying next to me who was on his back and they were helping him out, I don’t know what happened to him, it was just horrible," said Dustin.

The couple was finally reunited at the hospital around 3:30 a.m. They flew back to Denver later that day.

Dustin still has bullet fragments in his leg and he doesn't know if he'll need surgery. His family has a GoFundMe page setup for any related medical expenses.

"I feel so blessed and I feel so saddened for the people whose lives are destroyed," said Laurie.

Despite the shooting, Dustin doesn't think he'll be away from work for long. He is planning to return to the Stampede Saturday night.

"Country music is something that I love dearly, that’s a big part of me and I just want to get back to playing those songs that people love to hear," said Dustin.