Heather Gooze held the hand of a dying stranger for hours as chaos surrounded her. In the midst of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the brave woman was doing all she could to make sure the young man’s loved ones knew he wasn’t alone.
As she sat with McIldoon, his phone started to ring. It was a concerned friend who learned about what happened. A stranger sitting next to Gooze answered and broke the news to the friend before asking him to contact McIldoon’s parents.
Gooze noticed that Facebook messages kept appearing on McIldoon’s phone, but she couldn’t access them because the device was locked. Instead, she went on her own phone, found his profile, and started messaging everyone with the same last name, sending them a picture of his driver’s license and asking “Do you know this man?” As she was doing so, McIldoon’s mom called his phone and told Gooze that her son was there with his longtime girlfriend, Amber.
Gooze then called Amber, who was in lockdown in the basement of the nearby Tropicana hotel, and told her what happened.
“She broke down, and she said, ‘You know, he’s the love of my life. This can’t be happening.’ ‘You know,’ I told her, ‘I was here. I’ve been with him this whole time.’ I go, ‘I promise you, I will not leave him. I will not let them go anywhere with him or do anything or say anything that I’m not going to tell you about,'” Gooze told CNN.
Unable to reach back out to Jordan’s mom, Gooze discovered that she could use Siri to make calls while his phone was still locked.
Gooze sat with Jordan for four hours while keeping in contact with his mom and girlfriend. She said she didn’t want Jordan to be alone. Jordan McIldoon was one of 59 people killed when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock fired down at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on Oct. 1.