Lehigh Valley

Saylorsburg man caught in Vegas shooting aftermath returns home

SAYLORSBURG, Pa. - After 40 years in the business, country music producer and manager Jim Della Croce rarely misses a concert.

"It's a simple twist of fate that I went to dinner," said Della Croce, Founder of Pathfinder Management.
But after working long hours over the weekend in Las Vegas, Della Croce decided to pass on the Jason Aldean show Sunday night.

"The topic of do we go to the Jason Aldean show right by our hotel came up and I said I've got to go to dinner," he recalled.

His friends and colleagues who did go to the show, called him immediately after the shooting, urging him to get back to their hotel, Hooters Casino, adjacent to Mandalay Bay.

What should have been a quick ride, took hours as Della Croce was caught in the thick of the chaotic aftermath of the massacre.

"We were in gridlock with ambulances, watching people try to be revived." 

Still struggling to fully comprehend what happened, Della Croce returned to work at his Wind Gap office Thursday, reflecting on the gut-wrenching images he can't unsee.

"I kept finding shoes, here's a shoe, there's a shoe and none of us were computing that people were running out of their shoes to save their lives."

Once he finally made it back to the hotel, he says it was just as chaotic as the streets.

"It's like a refugee camp, just hundreds of people with white towels from the hotel, broken limbs, bones...traumatic."

Della Croce says no one slept that night and the next day he described the air as eerie and quiet.

He was in Vegas that week producing a music video for his up and coming country artist, Tony Jackson.  And being in the music industry, Della Croce, Jackson and the rest of their crew decided to help the only way they knew how, a benefit concert. 

"It was kind of controversial because you don't want to perform music right afterwards but we didn't want to lay down."

The concert raised $40,000 for the shooting victims and their families.

Della Croce says as he works to process the horrific event, he hopes people will come together in support of the victims, Las Vegas and the country music community.

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