Las Vegas shooting survivor stayed months in hospital. She's finally been reunited with her rescuer

Rosemarie Melanson can barely remember hearing a man speak to her after she was shot in the Las Vegas massacre. She s...

Posted: May 17, 2018 5:14 PM
Updated: May 17, 2018 5:14 PM

Rosemarie Melanson can barely remember hearing a man speak to her after she was shot in the Las Vegas massacre. She soon blacked out and wouldn't recall anything about the next few weeks.

The mother of four would spend six months in a hospital and endure nine surgeries.

Last week, she finally got a chance to meet the retired Los Angeles firefighter who her family says saved her life.

In an emotional reunion, Don Matthews visited Melanson at her Las Vegas home after her recent hospital release, swallowed up by embrace after embrace from her and her family.

"Without him, I wouldn't be here -- no doubt," Melanson told CNN's Erica Hill, who was there for the reunion.

It's been a long road for Melanson, starting on that night of terror when a man rained gunfire down on thousands of concertgoers from 32nd-floor windows of a Las Vegas hotel and casino.

The gunman killed 58 people and injured about 500 before killing himself. Melanson was at the October 1 concert -- the Route 91 Harvest Festival -- with her daughters.

It was a Mother's Day gift from her oldest daughter, Stephanie. Melanson said she had just dragged her daughters to the front of a stage when she heard what she thought were firecrackers.

One bullet struck her, damaging her stomach, spleen, lung and liver.

Matthews saw Melanson and started tending to her. He told her daughters to flee -- and reluctantly, they did.

"(He said) we had to get out of here if we want to live," Stephanie told CNN's Hill. "And he's like, 'I promise I will stay with your mom all the way.' "

Melanson said she had an out-of-body experience, and went to heaven.

"It was indescribable, the peace that you felt," she told Hill. "But I was told it wasn't my time, that I had to go back."

That's when she briefly woke up.

"I could hear Don, the guy who saved my life ... and then I blacked out" for the next few weeks, she said.

Matthews, with the help of others, got Melanson out of harm's way and into a pickup truck. Eventually, she was taken to a hospital.

After 11 anguished hours, her family learned she was alive and in a hospital. Her husband, Steve, rushed to her side.

"I do believe God put everybody in the right place at the right time to save her life, and Don was her guardian angel," Steve Melanson told Hill.

The Melansons eventually connected with Matthews that month through social media. On Thanksgiving Day, while Matthews and Steve Melanson were being interviewed on CNN, Steve told the retired firefighter he was going to bring him to Las Vegas for a reunion, once Rosemarie was well enough.

Rosemarie Melanson's health challenges aren't over; a 10th surgery is scheduled for Friday. But she said she's anxious to get back to her old life.

Sitting next to her on that reunion day last week, Matthews teared up when Hill asked him whether he thought Rosemarie would survive.

"No," he said, crying and taking Rosemarie's hand.

"Never give up," Matthews said. "Miracles happen. And this one surely did."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68293

Reported Deaths: 1944
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5700119
DeSoto371031
Harrison260136
Madison245569
Jackson231444
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Jones193159
Forrest182656
Washington170142
Lee152142
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Warren112535
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Panola106816
Sunflower105625
Scott101120
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Copiah96228
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Lincoln83442
Monroe82155
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Coahoma78113
Wayne78021
Tate74330
Marshall7129
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Union66216
Adams63225
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George5956
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Smith40613
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Tippah37414
Tunica3587
Clarke33626
Montgomery3295
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Yalobusha31610
Humphreys29712
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25612
Perry2428
Amite2376
Webster23712
Kemper23314
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21513
Stone2115
Sharkey2045
Jefferson1957
Benton1451
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena272
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 100801

Reported Deaths: 1814
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13366246
Mobile10581212
Montgomery6825151
Madison546934
Tuscaloosa426979
Unassigned392566
Baldwin367029
Shelby333437
Marshall319438
Lee270847
Morgan241819
Etowah218034
DeKalb183414
Calhoun181918
Elmore176039
Walker154465
Houston142813
Russell13892
St. Clair136320
Limestone135913
Dallas133624
Franklin129722
Cullman123012
Colbert121517
Lauderdale119020
Autauga116222
Escambia108817
Talladega105414
Jackson10264
Tallapoosa87579
Chambers84738
Dale84329
Clarke82610
Chilton8189
Blount8165
Butler77036
Coffee7656
Covington74021
Pike7137
Marion58226
Barbour5796
Lowndes57124
Marengo56616
Hale48526
Bullock48111
Winston45711
Perry4454
Bibb4445
Washington44412
Wilcox43410
Monroe4236
Pickens4089
Randolph40211
Conecuh39310
Sumter36618
Lawrence3542
Macon33914
Crenshaw3326
Choctaw28912
Cherokee2768
Clay2675
Geneva2652
Henry2643
Greene25211
Lamar2302
Fayette2235
Cleburne1291
Coosa1053
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