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Pinoy cabbie hailed for helping Vegas shooting victims

Photos taken from the Facebook account of Ern Pahayahay show the taxi of Wenifredo Maquindang (inset).

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines — A Boholano taxi driver from Loboc town is now considered a hero by some families and the media in Las Vegas, Nevada for bringing the wounded in the recent shooting to hospital for medical attention.

The act of heroism came after suspect Stephen Paddock, 64, sowed terror in a shooting spree directed at the crowd attending a country music concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500.

Wenifredo “Winnie” Maquindang recalled that he was able to transport six wounded victims to the hospital, unmindful of the traffic lights along the way.

He said that what he did was dangerous. But he did not try to come back to the place for other victims since the blockade at the crime scene was already in place.

Maquindang narrated his experience to local radio station dyTR program anchored by Ted Ayeng and Edgar Tumanda yesterday morning.

He recalled that as he parked his taxi to wait for passengers near Mandalay Bay Resort and Hotel, he heard firing which he first thought was fireworks. Then he realized it wasn’t, rather gunfire from the hotel mowing down the concert crowd.

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Some of the taxi cabs parked nearby were nowhere to be found. The taxi drivers also ran for their life, he said in the vernacular.

He said he went to the crowd and realized that he was among the few who remained standing as even police officers took cover while the shooting was going on. Later, people started to approach his taxi for a ride.

When Las Vegas residents called him a hero, he said he just wanted to help the victims and that was his only concern at the time.

He said that the Las Vegas mayor invited him and some media outfits in the region tried to contact him for interviews. He said he was invited for an interview by one of the giant TV companies in the US tomorrow.

He said the interview might be screened on the video mounted on his taxi.

Maquindang is a new driver of a company he did not name but he has been a taxi driver for 45 years while his family resides in California.

Two Fil-Ams injured

Two Filipino-Americans were injured in the mass shooting, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

A team from the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, headed by Consul General Adelio Cruz, was on site in Las Vegas and met with the Police Department and the Filipino community. The DFA did not identify the victims.

“They confirmed that two Filipino-Americans were injured in the shooting incident,” said Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar. 

He said one of the two injured was discharged from hospital for a sprained ankle.

“The other is still in hospital under observation but is expected to make a full and speedy recovery,” he said.

Paddock, the gunman, was in a high-rise hotel overlooking the Las Vegas Strip as he opened fire late Sunday, the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. – Ric Obedencio/Freeman, Pia Lee-Brago

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