This Iraq veteran stole a truck and rescued dozens as gunfire rained down in Las Vegas

By Mandy Matney

An Iraq veteran is being hailed as a hero for stealing a festival truck and rescuing dozens of shooting victims as gunfire rained down in Las Vegas Sunday night.

Taylor Winston, 29, of San Diego, first thought the gunshots were fireworks while drinking and two-stepping at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, CBS News reports. But his combat skills kicked in when he heard the screams and the gunshots got closer during the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

He fled to the exit with his friend, Jenn Lewis, and helped people over a nearby fence, according to CBS News.

Winston then noticed a bunch of festival trucks in a nearby parking lot and thought to look inside for keys. He goes to a lot of country concerts with his current job at Country Rebel, a clothing company for country fans, and figured at least one of the trucks would still have keys inside, he told the Daily Beast.

“So I just crossed my fingers and it turned out to work out,” Winston told the Daily Beast. The first truck he opened had keys sitting inside.

Winston then ran back to the gunfire and searched for the most critical victims.

"There was just too many and it was overwhelming how much blood was everywhere,” he told CBS News.

Fresno, Calif. resident Crystal Alaniz left to use the restroom during the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the shooting broke out. "I kept praying and I kept hoping that I was going to get out of there alive," she said.

Winston is no stranger to combat zones. He served two tours in Iraq before being honorably discharged in 2011, CBS News reports.

Winston and Lewis made two trips to transport more than two dozen victims to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center, according to the Daily Beast.

As of Monday afternoon, 59 people were killed and 527 were injured in the massacre.

He’s being hailed a hero by thousands on social media, but said he was just one of the many “courageous and brave” people who stepped up on Sunday night.

“Taylor Winston, you’re an outstanding example of what we should all strive to be in time of crisis,” one person wrote on Facebook.

“This is what the good people of this country do for each other when tragedy happens at any and all times,” another wrote.