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Tears And Prayers In The Wake Of The Massacre On The Las Vegas Strip

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(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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Flowers are placed near the scene of a mass shooting at a music festival near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino, top left, on the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Strip erupted in gunfire Sunday night as a man in a hotel room 32 floors up fired a high-powered weapon into a crowd of people at a music festival.

 

So far, 59 people have died, 527 were injured.

 

Earlier today, University Medical Center said it admitted 104 people, released 40 and that 12 remained in critical condition. 

 

The window was broken out by the shooter/Credit: Brent Holmes

 

Gunshot and trampling victims have been taken to other hospitals throughout the Las Vegas Valley as well.

 

“This tragedy has affected every single person here,” Rep. Jacky Rosen D-NV., told KNPR's State of Nevada.

She also said that she toured Sunrise Hospital last night and was told that there was blood everywhere and not a piece of floor tile in the emergency room was untouched by blood.

Rosen said in the weeks and months to come everyone in Las Vegas will be dealing with the trauma from this tragedy.

 

Police have identified the shooter as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old shooter; and what can casinos do from this day on to prevent anything like this from happening again.

 

County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak speaking at a vigil Monday night/Credit: Chris Smith

 

Paloma Solamente had just left Luxor when she heard the pops of the gunfire. She thought it was fireworks but quickly realized it was gun shots.

 

She drove down Tropicana Avenue and saw people running from the scene. That is when she jumped into action. 

 

"I opened the doors [of my car] and I got five people in and took them to Thomas & Mack," she said. 

 

But instead of making her way home, Solamente drove back towards the scene and found a group of people surrounding a man who had a gunshot wound to his chest. 

 

"I drove like a maniac," she said and because of the traffic, she followed ambulances to go through red lights. She drove them to Sunrise Hospital. 

 

She said it was like a scene from a disaster movie with nurses and doctors everywhere. The man was taken into the hospital. She gave the man's family her phone number so they could call her if they needed any help.

 

Solamente found out today that he was "in serious by stable condition."

 

"I just did what I was supposed to do," Solamente said of her heroic efforts.

 

Mick Akers is a reporter who saw police cars racing to the scene Sunday night. He followed them and ended up parking at Town Square and walking down Las Vegas Boulevard to where police had roped off the scene. 

 

From there he saw the stream of people leaving the scene and started talking to them about what happened. 

 

"A lot of them were dirty with blood on them," he said. 

 

He said people were telling him harrowing tales of being shot at, dropping to the ground, then getting up when the shooting stopped only to be shot at again. He said that cycle went on for five to 10 minutes.

 

Congresswoman Dina Titus represents the area of Las Vegas where the shooting happened. She said her office has been working as the clearinghouse for information about the shooting.

 

She said she has been hearing stories of heroism from everyday people all day long. 

 

Titus has been part of the effort to strengthen gun control laws and after Sunday's shooting, she said, "I will keep up the drumbeat," on the issue.

 

MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren embraces one of his employees at a prayer vigil held Monday night/Credit: Chris Smith

We are learning more about the suspected shooter. Daniel Rothberg is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas. He went to Mesquite to talk to neighbors of Stephen Paddock.

 

“They had the same question everybody else had who was this man and what drove him to commit such a heinous crime?” Rothberg said.

He said neighbors had seen him around but they described him as someone who was quiet and kept to himself.

Rothberg also went to shooting ranges in the area and the people there do not remember seeing Paddock. None of the shooting ranges in Mesquite allow automatic weapons to be fired there. 

 

Mourners light candles at a vigil at Las Vegas City Hall/Brent Holmes

 

The view from the pedestrian bridge just north of the Mandalay Bay/Credit: Fred Wasser

Paloma Solamente, eyewitness; Mick Akers, reporter; Rep. Dina Titus D-NV.; Daniel Rothberg, reporter; Rep. Jacky Rosen D-NV.  

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.
Kristy Totten is a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada. Previously she was a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly, and has covered technology, education and economic development for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.