Local business owner opens up after Las Vegas tragedy

Carolina Cupcakery owner Dawn Eskins bakes heart-shaped cookies at her store in Chesapeake.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been four months since the deadly Las Vegas massacre and the question still remains: why did Stephen Paddock do it?

Authorities still don’t have the answer even after results of his autopsy report were released just days ago.

That doesn’t change the feelings of pain for a local business owner who was in Las Vegas during the time of shooting when Paddock opened fire on hundreds of people.

Carolina Cupcakery owner Dawn Eskins spends most of her days here in her bakery, which she calls her safe space. The business is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, and Eskins is devoted to her business. Part of that dedication is traveling, and on October 1, 2017, she traveled to Vegas for a wedding catering convention with two bakers from her shop.

“We were expecting see to Vegas to have a good time,” said Eskins.

However, when one of her bakers fell ill on the plane, they ended up landing in Vegas and rushed to the hospital. Just minutes later, Paddock started shooting from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. Authorities say 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured. Those victims were being rushed to the same hospital where Dawn and her employee were. The hospital quickly went into lockdown.

“It was carnage, carnage. People just shot to pieces.There was so much blood that the doctors and nurses were slipping. But you just say, OK, so how can I help?”

So, she started handing out towels to countless gunshot victims and made sure people in there were registered. Eskins says she saw a paramedic shot in the leg, helping another person shot, because they needed it more.

“It was the first responders, it was the good Samaritans, people were just at the concert and just tried to help the guy on the ground… it was all of that…that you have to focus on or you really lose faith in humanity.”

And while what she saw will never leave her, she uses her bakery in Chesapeake as a healing place. For her, it’s a reminder that there is good, there is love, and the sweetness of a child can help ease some of the pain.

“When you’re having a really lousy day and you walk out front and there’s a kid and you look over and they have frosting all over them and they are like..cupcake! It restores all your faith and all your negativity.”

Paddock’s autopsy report was just released Friday.  Media reports say an autopsy showed Paddock had anti-anxiety medication in his system at the time of death.He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.