David Copperfield distracts audience during shooting

NZ Herald staff,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 9:04PM
Copperfield  told the audience to stay seated because there had been a shooting outside (Getty)
Copperfield told the audience to stay seated because there had been a shooting outside (Getty)

Honeymooners were forced to stay in a Las Vegas theatre where they had been watching David Copperfield's live show for several hours longer after concertgoers were targeted in a mass shooting nearby.

Christchurch woman Meg Hawkins and her Australian husband Michael were watching the illusionist at the MGM Grand when they noticed the security guards running towards a door yesterday (Sunday night US time).

With only about 10 minutes of the show to go, Meg said the magician was among the crowd trying to pull someone up to the stage when they saw this happening.

READ MORE: Las Vegas shooting: Face of the gunman

The 23-year-old said Coppefield tried to distract the audience and pull their focus back to the stage.

"I thought it was a bit weird at the time. He did this massive finale and then he came back out on stage and he did just about 10 or 15 minutes of little stunts."

Copperfield then told the audience to stay seated because there had been a shooting outside and the hotel was in lockdown.

"People were laughing and he was like 'no, no, no - it's not a joke. Please stay in your seats'."

The Christchurch woman and her Australian husband then turned on their phones and saw that she had a lot of messages. The 23-year-old said she then went on to a news website and saw how serious it was.

Meg and Michael Hawkins were kept in lockdown for two hours after watching David Copperfield's show at the MGM Grand. (Photo / NZ Herald)

"It was massive. I started freaking out straight away. I was shaking, trying not to cry - I didn't know what was going on."

However she said others in the room were blase about what was happening. "From what I could see people were quite calm. I don't know if people realised how big it was because, like our first impression was it must be a precaution to stay in here."

Meg said the news was still reporting then that there were three shooters, and that two were still on the loose.

"They (MGM management) were pretty tight-lipped about it. They got up on stage - we had been in there (lockdown) about 15 minutes maybe and they got upstage and updated us and said it was quite serious."

About another 50 guests from within the hotel complex were brought in to take shelter, including a bride and groom.

Police were escorting audience members to the toilet and while Meg was waiting in the queue David Copperfield approached her.

LISTEN: Kiwi describes panic as gunman fired into crowd

"I really had to go, I was terrified. I was shaking. I was a mess. But while I was out back, David Copperfield comes up to me and said 'Who are you?'.

She told him she was waiting for the bathroom and he continued to ask if she liked the show.

"I was in shock already. I didn't know what was going on and David Copperfield was talking to me. I was just so out of it talking to a celebrity - and all I could say was 'yeah it was good'. I don't even know what I said."

After they had been in the theatre for an hour, Copperfield reappeared on stage and started telling jokes to relax everyone.

After two hours in lockdown they were allowed into the casino and eventually allowed to leave the complex about 1.30am.

"We went outside and it was crazy out there. We weren't far from the scene at all."

READ MORE: Vegas shooting: Kiwis describe the chaos

The area where the shootings had taken place was blocked off and police were redirecting everyone east and the streets towards their hotel was closed. The 20-minute walk back to the hotel where they were staying, Bellagio, took them 40 minutes due to the obstacles.

"We were walking-running type thing and just trying to get there as soon as possible. We finally got there and the whole Bellagio was like - they had police and army guys at each door."

She said the casino was empty, but as they walked further into the large hotel they saw people sleeping on the floor.

"They were stranded ... everyone was just distraught. We just had to walk through the whole hotel with all these people lying on the ground. It was pretty scary."

The couple, who are living in Sydney, arrived in Las Vegas on Sunday and had been due to stay until Thursday, but decided to drive back to Los Angeles instead as they did not feel safe there anymore.

"It was such an eerie feeling over there - we were terrified ... It was just really eerie. There was no one on the street - it was crazy.

"We kind of just want to get out of America at the moment. We are just a bit freaked out."

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