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Route 91 Hero Reunited With The Man She Saved

Brent Holmes

Paloma Solamente (left) helped save Billy King's (right) life after he was shot during the Route 91 Harvest festival. King's wife Kimberly (middle) also joined the interview.

We’ve heard lots of stories of courage and heroism following the mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.

Paloma Solamente is one of those heroes.

She was in the area that night and drove a carload of people to safety before returning for more.

That’s when she met Billy King.

Billy had been shot in the chest while attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival with his wife, Kimberly – and, if not for Paloma, he might not have lived.

Billy told KNPR’s State of Nevada that they met up with Paloma after they had run from the festival grounds across the street from Mandalay Bay to the Tropicana hotel-casino.

While looking for help, they were told that ambulances were outside and they ran that direction. When they got to the valet area of Hooters, they saw Paloma. Kimberly screamed at her for help. Paloma opened her car’s door and drove them to Sunrise Hospital.

Billy said in that journey they met several people who helped them and they were all strangers.

“Along the way the whole story is just filled with guardian angels,” he said.

It was actually Kimberly who knew that it wasn’t fireworks but shots being fired. She told Billy that’s what it was, but neither he nor others in the crowd believed her.

“I felt a coldness in my heart – a fear,” she said.

When Billy agreed they needed to run is when he was shot. Kimberly saw the bullet enter his body.

“At that moment, I couldn’t move anymore,” she said. She said she was in shock. It was Billy who grabbed her and started running. Kimberly said while she was running for her life there was only one thing in her mind: her kids.

“All I could think about when we were running is that I didn’t want to break their heart,” she said, “So, I needed to get out of there because and I had to help their daddy because how could you go home to your kids without him.”

The bullet had entered through his back near his armpit and exited through his chest. Remarkably, the bullet didn’t hit any major organs.

Billy believes that the people that were in his path that night were there for a reason.

And for Kimberly, while Billy was the one who was physically wounded, she counts herself and everyone in the crowd among the wounded.

“When people talk about 500 people that were injured, I just feel like it was 22,000 people that were injured,” she said.

Paloma still struggles with what she saw that night.

“I’m still looking in my rear-view window waiting to see his face behind me. I’m still checking to see if he’s breathing,” she said.

She then has to shake her head and remember that the ordeal is over.

Kimberly agreed.

“It’s really hard when you’re trying to close your eyes and trying to let all of this disappear from your mind and you really can’t.”

Billy King and Paloma Solamente reunite.

Paloma Solamente, hero; Billy King, mass shooting victim; Kimberly King, wife of William King

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Kristy Totten is a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada. Previously she was a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly, and has covered technology, education and economic development for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.