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Las Vegas hero shares emotional reunion with stranger whose life he saved

A concertgoer reunited with the man he says saved his life after he was hit by a bullet when fleeing the scene of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
/ Source: TODAY

A concertgoer who was shot in the leg while fleeing the scene during Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas had a heartwarming reunion on Tuesday with the stranger who saved his life.

Tom McIntosh and James Lawson shared an emotional hug during an exclusive interview on TODAY Tuesday, a day after Lawson's quick thinking saved McIntosh's life.

After McIntosh was wounded in the leg, Lawson, who serves in the Army Reserve, adjusted a makeshift tourniquet on his leg and accompanied him to a hospital.

"By the time I got over the wall (to safety), my pants were already soaked and my shoe was full of blood,'' McIntosh said. "No, I wouldn't have made it. I know it wouldn't have stopped. I'm very thankful that James was there to help me."

Lawson was at the Jason Aldean country music concert with his girlfriend, while McIntosh, who is from Las Vegas, was enjoying the show with his wife.

A lone gunman killed 59 people and injured more than 500 after opening fire on the crowd from the 32nd floor of a hotel across the street.

McIntosh was helping his wife and another woman climb over a brick wall to escape the gunfire when he was struck by a bullet in his calf. He then threw himself over the wall.

Lawson and his girlfriend were also running to safety when they saw McIntosh bleeding in the bed of a pickup truck with a tourniquet tied incorrectly on his knee.

"It was the completely wrong spot,'' Lawson said. "I walked up there and he was actively bleeding, so I adjusted the belt, got it up where it should be, tightened it down. We stopped the bleeding and we hung out there for 10-15 minutes and some savior in a pickup truck came."

"(Lawson) was actually really cool about it,'' McIntosh said. "I was terrified."

Lawson has been in the U.S. Army Reserve for more than a decade and also is certified as an emergency medical technician. His training was crucial in knowing how to properly set the tourniquet, he said.

"I never did anything with (the EMT certification) until the other night, so I didn't go through all that semester for nothing,'' Lawson said.

Lawson also kept talking with McIntosh to keep him awake as he was losing blood.

"He kept not wanting to lose his foot, and I kept reassuring him of that,'' Lawson said.

Lawson helped McIntosh into a wheelchair at the hospital and handed him off to the emergency room staff. The two had not seen each other since that moment until Tuesday's reunion.

The bullet is still lodged in McIntosh's calf and may require additional surgery, but he said on Tuesday that he is fine other than some soreness, thanks to Lawson.

"There was dozens and dozens of other concertgoers doing the same thing,'' Lawson said. "They couldn't leave anybody behind, they were running back towards the fire to help more people. There's got to be hundreds of stories like this one."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.