(CBS) – A group of three friends from the northwest suburbs witnessed the chaos of the Las Vegas sniper attack firsthand.

Brian Foote of Huntley and his buddies travelled specifically to Las Vegas for the country music festival.

The group sensed the firecracker-like noises they first heard were something dangerous when singer Jason Aldean was ushered off the stage. They ran for cover, not sure what was happening.

“We weren’t going to wait around and figure it out,” Foote says.

He says the scene became chaotic, as concert-goers began pushing fencing down, jumping over barriers and going into “survival mode.”

Foote’s friend, Vito Busano, adds: “The streets were flooded — people panicking, people hiding out. It was pretty bad. We just didn’t stop running.”

He says they eventually took cover in the basement of a driving range for two and a half hours with dozens of others.

They were among the many dazed Las Vegas-to-Chicago passengers thankful to be home alive.

“I just want to get home to my son,” Foote said at the airport.

The somber attitude among the passengers was palpable even for those who were not as directly connected to the tragedy.

Kenneth Waits was among those waiting for his bags at Midway Airport. He was attending a softball tournament just blocks away from the gunfire.

“When it’s something like that, you know you’re going to run for safety, and these things can divide us,” he said. “When you have people just having fun, enjoying life, and one person wants to mess up your life because their life is not on hand.”

Juan Merida has been to Las Vegas a number of times. The Chicago native was at a birthday dinner for his brother, when they were told there was an active shooter nearby.

“There was a girl that had a cut on her leg,” Merida said. “One guy lost a phone and a shoe, another guy lost a sandal. People were crying, unable to find their brothers or sisters or group. It was real bad.”

He plans to visit again, but he said it will have to wait until the country is safer and more unified.