Change of plans leads Arkansas woman away from Vegas massacre

Josh Briggs
Managing Editor

In the hours following the worst mass shooting on American soil — which left 59 dead and more than 500 injured — stories of survival, faith and pure heroism have emerged.

For one Arkansas woman, a slight change of plans potentially kept her and loved ones from being in harm’s way Sunday in Las Vegas.

“We were supposed to go to a hockey game at T-Mobile Arena and we were going to park at Mandalay Bay, but decided to go to Excalibur (one block north) because it was closer,” said Kendra Campbell of Arkadelphia.

On Wednesday, Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, of Nevada, took up shop in a 32nd-floor hotel room at Mandalay Bay Casino and Hotel on the Las Vegas strip.

On Sunday night, he used at least 10 long rifles to kill and injure concertgoers who were attending the Route 91 Country Music festival before killing himself, according to police.

Authorities located a total of 23 guns in his room and 19 more at his Nevada home. Explosives also were reported to be located at his residence.

The festival was being held a mere 400 yards from Paddock’s hotel room, well in range for his weaponry, police say.

Campbell, who flew in Wednesday, said she was on the strip the day she arrived and on Thursday as she visited with a cousin and her grandmother before returning to the area again Sunday.

“We find out this guy checked in on Thursday and it was kind of a shocker because we were out on the strip Thursday night hanging out,” Campbell said.

Campbell, who is originally from California, said she traveled to Sin City to visit her brothers, Chris Thaxton and Keith Thaxton.

She added that on Sunday, she and a group of family members had plans to attend a preseason hockey game at T-Mobile Arena — a block from the festival — but decided against it when ticket prices were two expensive.

“We were going to go to a bar on the strip instead and have a beer but they are really expensive so we were just going to go to a sports bar, but then just decided to go home (to North West Las Vegas, about 20 minutes away),” Campbell said.

A Go Fund Me account has been established to assist the victims of the shooting.

Authorities say the goal of $1 million was exceeded in less than three hours.

As of press time, more than $3.145 million had been donated.

To send a donation, visit

See Campbell's full story in Tuesday's issue of The Saline Courier.