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Friends under fire: Vegas shooting survivor returns to Alaska

 Mike Cronk and Rob McIntosh at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas, before the mass shooting.
Mike Cronk and Rob McIntosh at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas, before the mass shooting. (KTUU)
Published: Oct. 10, 2017 at 1:54 PM AKDT
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Mike Cronk from Tok returned to Alaska late Monday night, after more than a week of unexpected turmoil. He was among the survivors of the Las Vegas shooting.

Cronk was at the Route 91 concert with his friend of 30 years, Rob McIntosh, when shots rang out.

"And then there was another volley (of gunshots), and that's when my buddy Rob said, 'I got hit!'" Cronk said. "And, it's not real. You know, you're like, 'What are you talking about?' But then when you look at his shirt and there's a pool of blood, it became really real."

The two friends hit the ground as shot continued to be fired.

"Pretty much we were staying there, you know?" he said. "I was on top of Rob. He actually found the (bullet) holes, stuck his finger in it, and we were like, 'Leave it in there, we're going to compress over it.'"

Cronk said he never thought about leaving his friend's side, even though his life was in danger, too.

"He would have done the same thing for me," Cronk said. "That's what friends are for. I was not going to leave him. I was not going to leave him for anything."

Cronk and McIntosh eventually sought refuge under the concert stage. And when the gunfire stopped, Cronk got his friend to an ambulance.

Cronk says

. Initially, the two men thought McIntosh had been hit with three bullets. But they later learned the wounds were caused by a single bullet that entered McIntosh's side, traveled through his chest, and then exited his arm.

"I was just talking with Rob yesterday, and we don't want to focus on the evil part," said Cronk. "You know what, it happened. And now, we're ready to focus on the positive parts. And so we just want to find all the positivity we can out of this situation like this."

Cronk said the positives include the bravery of the first responders the night of the shooting, and the actions of ordinary people, who risked their lives to help strangers.

"There were so many people there helping strangers," he said. "I mean, there were heroes everywhere."

Cronk said he is already planning a return trip to Las Vegas a year from now.

"Route 91 is going to happen, and I said, 'I'll be the first one to buy my ticket,'" he proclaimed. "I'm coming back, because evil will not conquer good. It will not win."

Cronk will take part in a fundraising event Tuesday evening, in order to help the families of two Alaskans who died in the shooting: Adrian Murfitt and Dorene Anderson.

The fundraiser is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at

, located at 1450 E. Tudor Road in Anchorage. Organizers say 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the victims' families.

🙏🏼

Posted by Bread & Brew Alaska on Wednesday, October 4, 2017

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