Seven years after gunfire struck her on the Strip, Brittany O’Dale said she still endures pain every day.
“It’s just been an ongoing horror since then,” she testified Wednesday in the trial for the alleged gunman, reputed Las Vegas gang member Robert Jackson.
The San Francisco resident was in town for her bachelorette party, wearing a “Sexy Little Bride” sash, and hanging out with friends. They had just wrapped up a treasure hunt when five shots rang out near Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.
O’Dale dropped to the ground in front of O’Sheas, as some of her friends ran into the casino. Three other people were shot, including two other tourists, with O’Dale suffering one of the more serious injuries.
Prosecutors said Jackson, a Squad Up gang member, had fired on the crowded Strip sidewalk after several fellow gang members brawled with rival Wood gang members. None of them were shot.
O’Dale felt “severe pain” in her right leg and saw blood running down the sidewalk.
Someone picked her up and carried her into the casino, where a man took off his shirt and tied it around her leg to stop the bleeding. She was laid out on a gaming table.
“I tried to remain calm and stared at the ceiling,” she said.
Her right tibia was shattered, and the bullet was lodged in her leg. She spent four days in the hospital.
Her injured leg is now a half inch shorter than her other leg, and she has had constant stress fractures on her “good leg.”
A runner since age 11, O’Dale had to use a wheelchair for 12 weeks after the shooting. Her father carried her down the aisle at her wedding.
She’s had three surgeries because of complications from the titanium rod that was placed in her leg. She called her most recent surgery in May, “a terrible process,” and she still hasn’t been able to get back into a running routine.
Two other tourists, Byron Tate and Timothy Cutting, described being shot in the early morning hours of Aug. 19, 2007.
Tate said he saw people throwing up gang signs and yelling before he heard the gunshots.
He hobbled away, looked down at his pant leg and noticed he was shot in his left heel. The bullet was stuck in his shoe. He was treated and released from Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
Cutting said a bullet grazed his right leg, just below his calf.
None of the victims saw the shooter.
Surveillance video captured commotion on the Strip after the gunfire and spotted Jackson running from the scene, ditching his lime green Polo shirt in a trash can outside the former Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon.
Defense lawyers argued that someone else did the shooting and said the intended target was DeMario Morris, an admitted gang member and the only shooting victim who was not a tourist.
The trial is expected to last until August 29.
O’Dale remains “cautiously optimistic” about a resolution.
Wednesday was the first time O’Dale had ever seen Jackson, who faces nearly a dozen counts of attempted murder and battery. He eluded authorities for four years before he was captured in Chicago.
Defense attorneys have said Jackson, now 28, did not know he was wanted during that time.
“I’ve just been disappointed so many times by the system,” O’Dale said. “My expectations are very low for the outcome. I’m glad at least this day is done.”
Should Jackson be found guilty, O’Dale plans to speak at his sentencing.
“The only difference between what happened and five dead people is aim,” she said. “That’s it.”
Contact reporter David Ferrara at email@example.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker.