Off-duty cop shields wife from Las Vegas gunfire, runs back to help others

CHULA VISTA, California (KSWB) -- The wife of an off-duty San Diego police officer shared the horrific moments of Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas and how she and her husband made it out alive.

Tiffany McGrath said it was the first time she and her husband had ever attended the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival.

“We heard about it at Stagecoach and thought, 'let’s go,”' Tiffany said.

So the McGraths, along with five other friends -- a few of Tom’s coworkers from the San Diego Police Department -- bought tickets.

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Around Las Vegas after the shooting
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Around Las Vegas after the shooting
Las Vegas Boulevard remains closed near the mass shooing site at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A man stands next to a bouquet of flowers along a pedestrian walkway looking towards where a mass shooing at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival took place Monday night on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 3: Law enforcement vehicles gather near one of the entrance points to the concert venue where Sunday night's mass shooting, October 3, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, allegedly opened fire from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the music festival, leaving at least 58 people dead and over 500 injured. According to reports, Paddock killed himself at the scene. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 3: Las Vegas Blvd. remained closed to vehicular traffic near the scene of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 3, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, allegedly opened fire from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the music festival, leaving at least 58 people dead and over 500 injured. According to reports, Paddock killed himself at the scene. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Las Vegas Boulevard lights-up with with signs for the victims and first responders after a mass shooing at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman hosts a prayer vigil, in honor of those affected by the shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, in front of Las Vegas City Hall in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
A churches cross is lit by fading daylight as it towers over the scene in front of the stage following a mass shooing at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
People stand along a pedestrian walkway looking towards where a mass shooing at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival took place last night on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Women walk down the Las Vegas strip after roads were closed near the site of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Las Vegas Boulevard lights-up with with signs for the victims and first responders after a mass shooing at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Las Vegas residents Karen Stevens (L) and husband Mark Stevens attend a candlelight vigil at Las Vegas City Hall October 2, 2017, after a gunman killed at least 58 people and wounded more than 500 others when he opened fire on a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada late October 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, USA - OCTOBER 02 : Mandalay Hotel is seen after a gunman attack in Las Vegas, NV, United States on October 02, 2017. At least 59 people were killed and more than 527 others wounded at a country music concert in the city of Las Vegas late Sunday night in the mass shooting. A gunman -- identified as Stephen Paddock -- opened fire on more than 10,000 concert-goers at an outdoor venue from across the Mandalay Bay Hotel at around 10.08 p.m. local time (0508GMT Monday), Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lambardo from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) told reporters. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, USA - OCTOBER 02: Police block the roads leading to the Mandalay Hotel (background) and inspect the site after a gunman attack in Las Vegas, NV, United States on October 02, 2017. At least 59 people were killed and more than 527 others wounded at a country music concert in the city of Las Vegas late Sunday night in the mass shooting. A gunman -- identified as Stephen Paddock -- opened fire on more than 10,000 concert-goers at an outdoor venue from across the Mandalay Bay Hotel at around 10.08 p.m. local time (0508GMT Monday), Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lambardo from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) told reporters. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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“We were having a blast and we were already talking about planning the trip for the following year,” said Tiffany.

Continuing Coverage: Las Vegas Massacre

Tiffany was waiting to see Jason Aldean. But when he took the stage, everything changed.

“He had just started playing another song when all of a sudden we heard what we thought, what I thought was firecrackers,” said Tiffany.

She didn’t think anything of it at first but then noticed Aldean and his band clearing the stage.

“I even leaned over to the people in front of me and said, 'hey guys, don’t worry it’s just firecrackers,'” said Tiffany.

When she turned around, that’s when she noticed the woman behind her had been shot.

“She had on a white shirt. We saw right to her right side of her chest and then the blood started coming out,” said Tiffany.

As Tiffany and her husband tried to call the ushers for help, another round of gunfire began.

“We just all ducked down, got on the ground and took cover,” recalled Tiffany.

Her husband Tom, a San Diego police officer of four years, used his own body to shield hers.

“As soon as the second round stopped, he told me, 'I just need you to run,' that’s what he told me. 'You just need to run,'” said Tiffany.

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Victims of the Las Vegas shooting
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Victims of the Las Vegas shooting
Chris Roybal of Southern California, was a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, ABC News said. He was 28.

(Photo via GoFundMe)

Sonny Melton (pictured right) is seen with his wife Heather, who survived the shooting.

(Photo via Heather Gulish Melton)

Quinton Robbins, 20, is described by his aunt as "the most kind and loving soul."

(Photo via Kilee Wells Sanders/Facebook)

Jordan McIldoon (left), 23, of British Columbia, was confirmed dead by his parents as well as fellow concert-goer Heather Gooze, who said McIldoon died in her arms. 

(Photo via Facebook)

Victim of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Jordan McIldoon, is seen in this undated social media photo obtained by Reuters October 3, 2017. Social media/Handout via REUTERS

Jassica Klymchuk, a single mother of 4, was visiting Las Vegas from Alberta with her fiancé. 

(Photo via Facebook)

Lisa Romero worked as a secretary at her local high school in Gallup, New Mexico. 

(Photo via Facebook)

Denise Burditus, of West Virginia, was attending the concert with her husband, and died in his arms. 

(Photo via Facebook)

Rachael Parker was a records technician for the Manhattan Beach Police Department in California, she was 33. 

(Photo via Twitter)
Susan Smith worked for the Simi Valley Unified School District in California.

(Photo via Facebook)

Adrian Murfitt was a commercial fisherman in Anchorage, Alaska, the Alaska Dispatch News reported. He was 35.

(Social media/Handout via REUTERS)

John Phippen of Santa Clarita, California, was a father of five, grandfather of one and owned a remodeling and repair company. 

(Photo via GoFundMe)

Angie Gomez was a 2015 graduate of Riverside Polytechnic High School in California.

(Photo via GoFundMe)

Victim of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Angie Gomez, is seen in this undated social media photo obtained by Reuters October 3, 2017. Social media/Handout via REUTERS

Dana Gardner (pictured left) was attending the concert with her daughter, according to a GoFundMe page set up in her memory.

(Photo via GoFundMe)

Rhonda LeRocque attended the concert with her husband, and their 7-year-old daughter, who were not injured, according to the Boston Globe.

(Photo via Facebook)
Jenny Parks was a wife, mother to two young children and a teacher, according to a GoFundMe account set up in her memory.

(Photo via Facebook)
Nesya Tonks was the mother of three boys, according to a GoFundMe set up by her employeer, Technologent.

(Photo via GoFundMe)

Hannah Ahlers is survived by her husband and three children.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Carrie Barnette, 34, was in Las Vegas for a friends 30th birthday party.

Photo Credit: Nicole Johnson

Sandy Casey had taught special education for 9 years at the Manhattan Beach Unified School District. 

Photo Credit: Manhattan Beach Unified School District

Victim of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Sandy Casey, is seen in this undated social media photo

(Social media/Handout via REUTERS)

Thomas Day Jr. is survived by his four children who attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival with him. 

Photo Credit: Thomas Day Jr./Facebook

Charleston Hartfield, 34, was an off-duty Las Vegas police officer, youth football coach, and military veteran. Our… https://t.co/UafOdLrcFz

Bailey Schweitzer was only 20 years old and had just started working at Infinity Communications and consulting as a receptionist 7 months ago. 

Photo Credit: Infinity Communications and Consulting

Victim of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Bailey Schweitzer, is seen in this undated social media photo obtained by Reuters October 3, 2017. Social media/Handout via REUTERS
Victim of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Melissa Ramirez, is seen in this undated social media photo obtained by Reuters October 3, 2017. Social media/Handout via REUTERS
Victim of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Jack Beaton, is seen in this undated social media photo obtained by Reuters October 3, 2017. Social media/Handout via REUTERS
Christiana Duarte had begun working at her first full-time job since graduated college, according to the Los Angeles Times.

(Photo via Facebook)
Stacee Etcheber was a mother and wife to a San Francisco Police Dept. officer.

(Photo via Facebook)
Jennifer Topaz Irvine was a family law attorney based in San Diego, according to CBS News.

(Photo via Facebook
A fourth Kern County resident has passed away: Family of 27 y.o. Kelsey Meadows, confirm that she is the fourth Ker… https://t.co/DdzsCXbBh5
Calla Medig was described as a kind-hearted young woman with a beaming smile, according to CBC News in Canada.

(Photo via Facebook)
Cameron Robinson (pictured right) was an amazing friend, son, brother, uncle, cousin, coworker and boyfriend known for his love of cooking and dancing, according to a fundraising page set up in his memory.

(Photo via GoFundMe)
Family tells me Kurt Von Tillow from Cameron Park was killed in #LasVegasShooting. Say he ❤️ his country. Always wo… https://t.co/w7Ndiq5YlO

Bill Wolfe Jr. was a loving husband and a wrestling coach in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.


(Photo via GoFundMe)

A fundraising account set up for Dorene Anderson (pictured top left) described her as a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt and friend.

(Phot via GoFundMe)

Steve Berger was celebrating his 44th birthday with a group of friends, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

(Photo via EFS Advisors)

Tara Roe Smith was the mother of two young sons, according to the Canadian Press. She was reportedly separated from her husband, Zach, during the shooting.  

(Photo via GoFundMe)
Erick Silva has been identified as one of the victims in the #LasVegasShooting https://t.co/uv3taTQCqU

Brennan Stewart had a love for music and his family requested that the funds raised from a GoFundMe account set up in his honor be used for a local youth organization that is centered around the arts.

(Photo via GoFundMe)

Michelle Vo was attending her first country music concert, according to the San Jose Mercury News.


(Photo via Facebook)

Heather Alvarado loved to travel with her three children and her husband, according to a statement released by the Cedar City Police Department to local media.

(Photo via GoFundMe)

Denise Cohen was a mother of two who was attending the concert with her boyfriend.

(Social media/Handout via REUTERS)

Victim of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Jordyn Rivera, is seen in this undated social media photo.

(Social media/Handout via REUTERS)

Candice Bowers was a single mother of three and is described her as a superhero who loved country music; she was ki… https://t.co/9qh6ARaN2I
Andrea Castilla was celebrating her 28th birthday with her sister, boyfriend and her sister's fiancee, according to a GoFundMe page set up by her family.

(Photo via Facebook)
Austin Davis was considered a friend to all, according to a fundraising site set up in his memory. He was 29.

(Photo via GoFundMe)
Chris Hazencomb saved his friend's life by shielding her, the Ventura County Star reported. He was 44.

(Photo via GoFundMe)
Victor Link, 52, “I could type for hours saying how great of a man you were and how everyone loves you so so much.”… https://t.co/qu3fOQ3jY7
Lisa Patterson was a loving mother, wife and donated countless hours to her community, according to a GoFundMe account. She was 46.

(Photo via GoFundMe)
Rocio Guillen Rocha was still on maternity leave after giving birth to her fourth child six weeks ago, NPR reported. She was 40.

(Photo via GoFundMe)
Derrick "Bo" Taylor served the Ventura Conservation Camp for decades according to statement by the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation. He was 56.

(Photo via Facebook)
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So she did, as fast as she could. As she came to a fence to climb over, her boot got stuck.

“A man made it over ahead of me and he turned around and pulled me right over out of my boot. After I got over I just kept on booking it,” said Tiffany.

After making sure his wife was safe, Tom turned around and ran back into the line of fire.

“He had come across people, they needed his help. He stopped to try to assist them as much as he could,” said Tiffany.

All seven in the McGrath’s group escaped that night with only minor injuries.

“Every one of us, all seven of us, managed to get out with only bruises and scrapes on us and nothing more. It was just insane to think we all made it out,” said Tiffany.

Looking back, Tiffany said she knows as a police officer it is her husband’s job to save lives, but never did she think one of those lives would be her own.

“I am so proud of him on a day-to-day basis. Seeing what he did for those people and for me just blew me away,” said Tiffany.

The McGraths were there with six other San Diego police officers. Altogether the San Diego Police Department said about 15-20 officers were at Sunday’s concert.  All made it home safely and without injury.

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