SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Monica Crane is counting down the days until she sees her 28-year-old daughter, Nichole, face to face. She has been on edge, ever since receiving a frantic phone call late Sunday night.
"I imagine when I see her at the airport, I'm going to be over the top with just joy and relief to just physically be able to put my arms around her, tell her I love her," she said. "When I answered the phone, she was breathless and panicking and said that she had just got away from machine gun fire. It didn't really register what she was saying at first."
Nichole shared few pictures and a video she took with her boyfriend at the concert, just as Jason Aldean started his set on stage and seconds before bullets started flying. She had no idea the chaos she got caught up in would soon become the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
"When she called, I didn't know if she was safe, and she didn't know if she was safe," said Monica.
The Seminole High School graduate now lives in Salt Lake City. She said she heard a round of "pops," but she and her boyfriend thought it was fireworks or an amp popping. In video taken by concert goers as the shooting started, it's clear that headliner Aldean didn't seem to realize what was going on either.
"He kept going. So he started. I don't know what song he was about to start playing, and said 'Lets get this party stared!' right after the first gunshots had gone off. He started playing a coupe chords on his guitar, so we were like well maybe that's okay and we stood back up," said Nichole.
But those pops continued, and she and her boyfriend took off running.
"Every time mass crowds started running, there was more gunshots. We were definitely leaping over people, stepping over people, weaving in and out. Every direction I took was a life or death situation," Nicole said.
She and her boyfriend wound up running a mile-and-a-half from the venue and took shelter in a stranger's motel room. First thing she did, she called her mom back home in Sanford.
"I pray that I never have to experience what I heard in her voice when she called me that way. It was sheer terror," said Monica.