Former Indians pitcher's son called hero for helping victims escape Vegas shooting
Todd Blyleven, son of former pitcher Bert Blyleven, ran back into the venue during the shooting to help 30-40 people run for cover
By Joey Morona
Advance Ohio Media
CLEVELAND — There have been many tales of heroism told in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, including one involving a man with a last name familiar to Cleveland Indians fans.
Todd Blyleven, son of former Tribe pitcher Bert Blyleven, was at the the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival when shots rang out from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel late Sunday night.
Blyleven, a former minor league pitcher himself, recounted his story to the Washington Post and other news outlets.
"You look up and you could see the muzzle flashes from the window at the Mandalay Bay," he told The Washington Post. "The stage went black, Jason Aldean and his crew all ducked and ran offstage. Everybody started screaming, and then you start to see people going down."
After guiding his wife and friends to safety, Blyleven, noticing people lying on the ground who could be easy targets for the gunman, went back into the venue while it was still an active shooting scene. His hope? To help more people run for cover and towards first responders.
He estimates he helped 30 to 40 people escape, though he is unsure if all of them survived.
"I just felt like I had to," Blyleven, 45, told the Fort Myers News Press. "I had two arms and two legs. There were people in need. I felt like I needed to. There's still the idea that maybe there were more gunmen down on the ground by the stage. We didn't know if anybody was in there. The whole idea of going back was to get people to get out.
"We were running in just trying to take whoever got shot out," Blyleven told KARE-TV. "We were putting injured in a wheelbarrow because there were no paramedics, there weren't any gurneys."
About an hour later, once the chaos subsided, Blyleven received a call from his famous dad, who now lives in Florida.
Bert, a pitcher for the Indians from 1981-85, said he was proud of his son.
"It just shows the kindness that people have," the Hall of Famer pitcher told the News Press. "We saw it in New York during 9/11. It's the same thing here. There are people who run away, and there are the marines who run in. Hopefully, I'll never have to be put in that situation. I know Todd didn't want to be put in that situation, but he reacted like the person he is."
The shooting is the deadliest in U.S. history, with 59 dead and more than 500 people injured. The motive of the shooter, identified as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old millionaire from Mesquite, Nevada, is still not known.
Copyright 2017 Advance Ohio Media
- Civilian Hero