Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 | 7:45 p.m.
Residents, faith leaders and lawmakers gathered on the front steps of City Hall on Monday evening, where a candle was lit for each of the 59 lives lost.
The crowd began singing as the candles were lit at the end of the event, and attendees stayed afterward to continue singing on the front steps of City Hall. Pastors offered prayers, often mentioning unity and togetherness. Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman and Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., spoke during the vigil.
“What has come about is beyond heartbreaking,” Goodman said.
Titus, whose district includes the Las Vegas Strip, talked about the efforts of officials and residents to respond to the shooting.
“We want to thank everybody who has put their heart and soul into trying to grieve today and then after today we will move forward and start talking about why we don’t need one more moment of silence in Congress for victims of gun violence,” Titus said.
Henderson-based Community Ambulance Paramedic Melanie Bangle said the organization runs 911 calls in Clark County. She said Community Ambulance, as part of its contract, had stationed crews at the concert to provide medical care “just in case anything happened.”
“Our special events director, (Glen Simpson) was on one side of the event and I know he ran across gunfire to get back to the medical tent to make sure his crews were safe,” she said. “I heard from crew members that our management was willing to risk their life to go make sure that our crew members, who are our family, were safe.”
She said for an event that size, which had about 22,000 attendees, there are typically 10 to 12 paramedics on-site. The company was working from a medical tent and a couple of other areas at the event.
“They were actually there and able to respond right away,” she said. “We were very fortunate to have civilians help us — off-duty firefighters, police officers, paramedics, veterans. It was fortunate for us that we were able to work with all the civilians and the other agencies in conjunction to make everything run as smoothly as possible, to transport as many victims as possible.”
She said almost all of the company’s 250 employees stepped in after the shooting. Bangle said certified counselors were at the station Monday morning to help deal with any trauma that employees experienced, including those who were there during the gunfire, staff members who transported people, and dispatchers who were taking calls.
“They’re grateful that they were there to be able to help,” Bangle said of the employees. “It is very traumatic though, trying to help people and sometimes you’re not able to. The crew members that were there, they could have been killed. But out of all the crew members I’ve talked to, a lot of them were glad they were able to treat the people that they did.”
Bangle said her role has been a supportive one, making sure employees have everything they need.
“We came in to relieve those that were on all night and to kind of pick up the pieces where they left off and continue going for the rest of the day,” she said. “This happened, but 911 calls don’t stop throughout the rest of the valley. We had people who stayed all night and continued on into the morning running 911 calls. As partners with our other crew members, when they need to leave, we pick up and we take over.”
Las Vegas resident Natalie Haag was at the vigil and said her cousin Eugenia Arce-Alandia works at the Tropicana.
“She basically saw outside just like a rainfall of bullets,” she said. “So she hid.”
Haag also had an aunt who works at Mandalay Bay. She said her mom was finally able to reach her aunt after her call went unanswered, and all of her family members got home safe. She said she’d had a personally hard year already before starting to cry.
“This was just another thing that I was freaked out that my family was going to be involved in,” she said.
Sara Nelson, a Las Vegas resident since 1987, said she doesn’t know anyone personally who’s been affected. She said she attended the vigil to be around her fellow community members.
“My parents actually called me earlier this morning at about 6 o’clock to make sure I wasn’t there,” she said. “And that’s how I found out.”
She said Vegas is a big city, but it’s still a small town where everybody knows everybody, one way or another.
“I never thought something like this would happen here,” she said.