Route 91 Survivors Harry and Claudia Romero Discuss the Fears They're Facing on the Road to Recovery

do not reuse bb10
Austin Hargrave
Harry and Claudia Romero photographed on March 28, 2018 in Chino Hills, Calif.

"I'm kind of scared to go to a concert right now."

Chino Hills, Calif., residents Claudia Romero, 39, and her husband, Harry, 49, survived the shooting, but that was just the beginning of their ordeal.

Harry: Honestly, life has not gone back to normal. I still have a broken leg. I’m still unable to work. [Romero is on leave from the internet company where he is GM.]

Claudia: Same with me. I lost my job [in customer service]. It has been hard lately because my husband’s still not walking and hasn’t been able to work. I started going to therapy because I don’t think I’m back to normal. Eventually, I will find a job. But right now, getting my husband through recovery is the priority.

Harry: I was shot in both legs. A bullet went through one leg, out and back into my left leg, which shattered both bones in my lower legs. I had surgery the following day. They put in 11 screws. I’m just waiting for it to heal. We haven’t been billed, so I’m assuming [the city of Las Vegas is] taking care of it. 

Claudia: The first two months were really hard for him. But I mean, he took a bullet for me; the least I can do is take care of him. My daughter lives with me, so she’s a lot of help. I have my grandkids, too, here. That’s a distraction for us. It keeps us sane. 

Harry: We’re normally pretty active. We usually go on a lot of small trips -- Vegas, Palm Springs, San Clemente, things like that -- but we've had to skip at least three or four. I can’t bear weight on my left leg, so I’m using a walker or crutches, and it’s really hard to get around. It’s one of those things where we sit back and wait, basically.

Claudia: I started going to a therapist in February, and I’ve been sleeping better. You have your two choices: Talk about it, don’t talk about it. Listen to country, don’t listen to country. My therapist [tells] me to talk about it. Every time I go see her, we talk about the incident. My nightmares are not as bad as before, but I do wake up off and on in the middle of the night. Before, I couldn’t listen to country music because I would start crying. Now, I cry less.

Harry: Prior to this, I never really paid [the issue of gun control] any mind. If people want to own guns, it’s their own business. But the more I see all these tragedies, I wonder why we still have military weapons legal in the United States. I have no problem with the Second Amendment, but is there really a need for that type of gun? It doesn’t make sense to me. Why not just ban them?

Claudia: On St. Patrick’s Day, I went to a bar. First thing when I walked in there, my heart was in my throat. I couldn’t breathe. I was shaking. I felt like people were going to start shooting. I tell my husband I don’t want to be like that because I love going out. But I’m kind of scared to go to a concert right now. People deal with it in different ways. I have friends who were at Route 91 that have gone to concerts already. I know people who went the next week to see a country music band. But I don’t think I can do it at this moment. I’m not ready. I’m just praying.

As told to Adrienne Gaffney.

This article originally appeared in the April 14 issue of Billboard.