A trip to Las Vegas last weekend  for the Route 91 Harvest festival ended in a dash for life. 

Lee Dorchak, of Warren traveled to the festival with his best friend but got caught up Sunday night in the worst mass shooting on U.S. soil in modern history. He returned home Wednesday.

Now he'll  celebrate his 37th birthday on Oct. 22, grateful that he survived  a gunshot wound to his right leg. 

Dorchak arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday evening and attended the festival Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He said he was enjoying the beginning of Jason Aldean's performance when he thought he heard fireworks. 

"We were having a good time and the first couple of shots came down and we looked around and thought it was fireworks and realized it wasn't," Dorchak said. "I remember watching the band scurry off the stage and in that moment it became real and I realized we should do the same."

He said people kept yelling for people to get down. 

"Everyone was screaming for help and people laying on top of each other and I thought 'No, you need to get out and run.' There's a bigger target when you lay down rather than moving," Dorchak said. 

They began running away from the stage but couldn't tell if they were headed to safety. . 

"We couldn't tell where shots were coming from because they were echoing," Dorchak said. "We saw more people running against us and we realized we were running in direct line of the shooter, and I got shot."

The bullet pierced the back of his right calf and came out the front of his shin. 

"I realized I was shot but kept running. It was a matter of life and death from the start," he said.

Dorchak took  cover in the House of Blues tent and let people know he was hurt. He collapsed, and an off-duty officer and nurse came to his aid. 

"They had a knife and cut my jeans off and took my boot off. They used someone else's belt to tie around my leg and pushed me out the back."

He said he can't thank everyone enough who helped him. 

"The men and women who were off duty helping, the first responders ... the goodness that was going on behind the scenes that no one saw, all deserve credit," he said. "I've got a second chance at life and there are 58 other people who don't."

He'll attempt to return to his normal life with his favorite activities, he said.

"I have this chance because of (those who helped him) ... I can't wait to watch the Michigan vs. Michigan State game with my son. Go Blue."

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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