At the Route 91 festival in Las Vegas, Sue Ann Cornwell protected Miriam Lujan, who at the time was seven months pregnant. The two reunited on March 9. 

By Maressa Brown
March 20, 2018
vegas shooting
Credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images

On October 1, Sue Ann Cornwell and Miriam Lujan both attended Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas. Surely, neither expected that their lives would cross in the way that they did. Cornwell had attended the concert with her sister, and Lujan was there with two of her girlfriends. When the shooting started, Cornwell protected Lujan, who was seven months pregnant at the time. Cornwell's backpack shielded Lujan’s stomach, as the retired school bus driver lay on top of her sister and the mom-to-be.

“Stay down, stay down,” she told them, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. In response, Lujan said, “I don’t want my baby to die," and Cornwell said, "Your baby's not dying on my watch." Cornwell asked her what sex her baby was to distract her, and she said, "A boy." She also told Cornwell that she would name him Xander. They ultimately escaped through a knocked-down fence but never exchanged names.

Immediately following the shooting, Lujan was concerned about the health of her baby, but she was relieved upon feeling a couple of kicks. She was put on bed rest for cramping pains, and then every day for three weeks, she looked online for the two women who had protected her. “When you meet people like that, you kind of just keep thinking about them,” she said, according to the newspaper.

Lujan gave birth to Xander Cy Finch on November 26 in an emergency C-section, after an 11-hour labor. And four months later, thanks to a Facebook group of Route 91 survivors, she was able to connect with Cornwell. The two reunited on March 9.

"You can cry all you want; we are just happy you’re crying,” Cornwell said upon meeting Xander. “He’s already part of history, and he doesn’t even know it. Out of all the ugly, here’s this child that survived. … One day his mom is going to have a story to tell him.”

Lujan agreed, noting, “I want him to remember the good moments. I want him to remember those people that did not make it and to remember that people will help strangers to survive. And if anything were to happen similar to him like that, I hope he would be able to do the same.”

What a moving moment for this new mom and the stranger-turned-friend who kept her safe. They'll undoubtedly be connected for life.