At approximately 10:30 p.m. Sunday evening, gunfire erupted from the 32-floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Bullets rained down from a lone gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite Nevada, onto the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival killing at least 59 and injuring 500+.
As country singer Jason Aldean was performing the final song of the festival the crowd began to hear what sounded like firecrackers. It soon became apparent, however, that the sounds they were hearing was not firecrackers, but rather gunfire from a fully automatic weapon being shot through a window of the nearby resort. Videos from the scene show mass chaos as victims rushed for the exits and tended to those shot by the gunman.
Eyewitness, Russell Bleck, said on Fox News, “There was nowhere to go,” and, “People were plugging bullet holes with fingers … Crawling on the ground, you could feel the sand hitting your face as the ricochets hit the ground.”
Clark County Sheriff, Joseph Lombardo, said Paddock killed himself with a self inflicted gunshot wound as police breached the door of his hotel room. Police have reported finding over 10 firearms in the room Paddock occupied.
Paddock checked into his room on Sept. 28 using credential obtained from his roommate, Marilou Danley. Danley was originally sought as a person of interest by police, but was later discovered to be out of the country and not believed to be involved.
President Trump held a press conference at 10:50 a.m. EST where he called for, “the entire nation to find unity and peace.” He will be visiting the Vegas area on Wednesday to visit law enforcement and families of victims.
Iron County Sheriff Mark O. Gower said words, “escaped him,” on what he could say to comfort those affected by the mass shooting. He said reporting something out of the ordinary, even if it’s someone they know, can help prevent tragedies like this. In the case of an active gunman, Sheriff Gower said it’s best to remain calm, conceal yourself, come up with a plan to not become a victim and, if it’s safe, call 9-1-1.
Eric lafigliola, an account manager at Haines Direct, a division of Haines & CO, Inc, said, “Today hurts, but tomorrow will be a new day; hug you neighbors, donate to your local nonprofits, and send prayers. #USA #UnitedAsOne.”
Counseling and psychological services are available to all SUU students for free through CAPS. Director of CAPS, Curt Hill, said, events like this shooting can create a variety of responses from individuals and groups. Hill wants people to know that there is not a preferred or ‘best’ way to respond.
“Often, the best thing to do is to go slow, find a friend, and make an effort to treat yourself with compassion,” Hill said, “If this has affected someone in a very personal way, it may take some time before they really know what they are feeling and thinking. This is very common. People should reach out for help if they notice significant changes in their ability to cope and function.”
Those with questions are welcome to contact CAPS at 435-865-8621.
Jason Ramirez, assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said SUU’s Care and Support Team (CAST), a network of faculty and staff, are ready to assist supporting students.
“Campus wide messages are being distributed to faculty, staff and students to ensure they are aware of all services available,” Ramirez said. “If anyone needs immediate assistance, they can reach out to the Dean of Student’s Office or the University Police.”
The thoughts of the University Journal staff are with the people of Las Vegas and all those affected by this tragedy. People with video or photos of the event are encouraged to contact the F.B.I. at 1-800-CALLFBI (255-5324). Those looking for loved ones can call 866-535-5654.
The Southern Utah University Care and Support Team is holding a vigil at 6:30 p.m. on the Business Quad Wednesday night.
Ellen Treanor, Executive Director of Brand Strategy and Marketing Communication
Provost Brad Cook
Curt Hill, Director of CAPS
Dean of Students Jason Ramirez
Iron Country Sheriff Mark O. Gower