United States Marine Corp Cpl. Austin Cox, a 2011 Piqua High School graduate stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, was in attendance at the Route 91 Harvest music festival with a fellow Marine when the shooting occurred.
“[I] put some pressure on the wound on her neck, and then I saw more blood coming,” Cox told this news organization.
Cox knew how to respond to the situation because of his military training, he said.
“They really do teach you how to react in those situations, so that obviously helped out a lot and it kept my cool and kept me focus,” Cox said.
Cox said he scooped Hannah up off the ground and ran for cover during a pause in the gunfire and brought her to a random car.
“The people obviously were willing to help, that's what they were there for, they pulled their car up,” Cox said.
Tom Westfall, the choir director at Piqua High School, said he’s known Cox since he was in elementary school and wasn’t surprised at Cox’s willingness to help.
“It doesn't surprise me. He's an upstanding guy, I can see him just stepping to the plate and doing whatever needed to be done,” Westfall said.
Piqua Head Football Coach Bill Nees, who has known Cox for about seven years, echoed Westfall’s sentiments.
“He was an undersized safety with an oversized heart,” Nees said. “I think he had that mindset before he was a Marine, I think he came in with that, and that he was that kind of guy that would just be willing to help people out any chance he could.”
Just two weeks ago, Cox was the best man in his friend Kindric Link’s wedding. When Link learned about the shooting and wondered for an hour if his friend was OK.
Link said Cox’s story was traumatizing, but he knows Cox is a loyal person, even to complete strangers.
“Everyone was coming toward him trying to save their own lives, and he and his buddy, who is a Marine, ran towards the bullets,” Link said, adding that Cox stayed with Hannah the entire night at the hospital while she received treatment.
Hannah was in Las Vegas for her best friend’s bachelorette party, according to Cox’s aunt.
Regardless of what others say of his actions, Cox insists on not being called a hero.
“I'm not keen to just call myself a hero or nothing, but I think I would do it any other day, and people know that and they know the type of person I am,” Cox said. “That's what being a Marine's all about. I joined to defend America, and whether that's foreign or domestic, I'm going to help out as much as I can.”