Monday, October 2, 2017

Las Vegas Shooting Kills 58: Terror, Mental Illness, Gun Control

It seems that as of late we keep seeing incidents like the one that occurred last night in Las Vegas. I want to offer my condolences to those that lost their loved ones at this tragic event. I also want to send out prayers to those police officers on duty and off duty that lost their lives responding to this tragedy.

The sad thing is that as we all know the finger pointing will start between the political parties and those for and against gun control. We will have those that will want to make this a racial issue, but let’s not overlook the underline problem. We keep asking why things like this occur, but we can never seem to find the root cause of this. We may never find the root cause, but finger pointing will never solve the problem.

All of us involved in law enforcement, the medical field, psychologist, sociologist, and educators all conclude that the majority of these tragedies occur because of some sort of mental health issues. I believe that it is the time that we start funneling more funds for research and treatment of those afflicted by mental illness. This is not a cure-all and will not fix all the issues, but we need to deal with the epidemic that is among us. Mental illness is the silent killer that is affecting so many of us, yet we miss so many of the signs because we don’t understand those signs.

Mental illness like so many other illnesses, do not discriminate and don’t care about your ethnicity. This is an issue that affects all of us. Let’s not let this tragedy mask itself as another issue based on race or about gun control. Let’s start taking a look at the underlining issue and deal with mental illness. 
LAS VEGAS — A gunman on a high floor of a Las Vegas hotel rained a rapid-fire barrage on an outdoor concert festival on Sunday night, killing at least 58 people, wounding hundreds of others, and sending thousands of terrified survivors fleeing for cover, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.

Online video of the attack near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino showed the singer Jason Aldean’s performance at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event, being interrupted by the sound of gunfire. The music stopped, and as victims fell bleeding, concertgoers screamed, ducked for cover, or ran.

“Get down,” one shouted. “Stay down,” screamed another.

Tenaja Floyd of Boise, Idaho, said many of the people around her in the concert crowd thought at first that the sounds came from fireworks, but “I knew immediately, that wasn’t fireworks.” She said her mother, Jennifer, threw her to the ground and lay on top of her to protect her. As people started running out of the venue, she said, they thought they might be trampled, so they decided to join the rush to leave.

Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said on Monday morning that 58 people were confirmed dead and 515 more had been wounded. One of those killed was an off-duty Las Vegas police officer, the department said.

The sheriff said there were about 22,000 people at the concert.

SWAT units swarmed the upper floors of the Mandalay Bay, closing in on the source of the shooting, a room on the 32nd floor where they found the gunman with “in excess of 10 rifles,” the sheriff said. “We believe the

The first reports of the shooting came at 10:08 p.m. local time. Officers were overheard on police radio channels reporting that they were pinned down by gunfire. Shortly before midnight, the Las Vegas police reported that “one suspect is down,” and soon after, the police said they did not believe there were any more active gunmen.

The sheriff identified the suspected gunman as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nev., who had no significant prior criminal history.

Before dawn on Monday, the police searched Mr. Paddock’s house in Mesquite, a town near Las Vegas on the Nevada-Arizona border. The police moved cautiously at first, evacuating surrounding homes in case there were any explosives, but none were found. The Mesquite Police Department said no one was in the house; at least one firearm and ammunition were found, they said, but they gave few other details about what the search turned up.

Eric Paddock, a brother of Stephen Paddock who lives in Orlando, Fla., said he had made a statement to the police. In an interview with CBS, he said that his brother was “not an avid gun guy at all,” adding, “if he had have killed my kids, I couldn’t be more dumbfounded.”

“The fact that he had those kind of weapons is just — where the hell did he get automatic weapons?” Eric Paddock asked.

“He has no military background or anything like that,” he added. “He’s a guy who lived in a house in Mesquite and drove down and gambled in Las Vegas.”

He said Stephen Paddock had recently texted him to ask how their mother was faring after Hurricane Irma.

Speaking at the White House, President Trump called the shooting “an act of pure evil,” ordered flags flown at half-staff, and said he would travel to Las Vegas on Wednesday.

The F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security are working closely with local authorities to assist in the investigation,” Mr. Trump said, and he praised the performance of the Las Vegas police. “The speed with which they reacted was miraculous and prevented further loss of life.”

Video of the shooting captured nine seconds of rapid-fire, continuous bursts of fire, followed by 37 seconds of silence from the weapon and panicked screaming from the crowd. Gunfire then erupted again in at least two more bursts, both shorter than the first.

The police reported clearing out the Mandalay Bay’s 29th floor and working their way up to the 32nd floor. A police Twitter post described reports of an “active shooter” near or around the Mandalay Bay casino.

Video from the shooting showed Mr. Aldean, the final performer of the night, running off the stage as the gunfire erupted.

Jake Owen, a country singer who was on stage with Mr. Aldean when the shooting began, told CNN on Monday that it was like “shooting fish in a barrel from where he was.”

“This is not an exaggeration: This shooting was going on for at least 10 minutes,” he added. “It was nonstop.”

Concertgoers described hearing round after round of gunfire. “Everyone was running, you could see people getting shot,” Gail Davis, one of the witnesses, said. “I’ve never been that scared in my life,” she added. “To have this happen, I can’t wrap my mind around it.”

 “It just kept coming,” another witness, Robyn Webb, told The Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It was relentless.”
She said she saw about 20 people bleeding in the street.
“That’s when we knew for sure it was real,” said her companion, Matt Webb.
A photo posted by a Review-Journal photographer showed emergency responders transporting one injured person in a wheelbarrow.

University Medical Center, which has Nevada’s only level 1 trauma center, took in 104 patients, arriving by ambulance and private cars, including four who died, and 12 who were in critical condition on Monday morning. “We had our first rush and it was nonstop,” said Danita Cohen, a hospital administrator.

Ordinarily, the trauma center would be taken

in eight to 10 traffic accident victims in a night. But the trauma teams regularly train for mass casualty events; the most recent session was led by an emergency responder from the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospital received 56 patients at its three campuses, including four who were in critical condition. Most had suffered gunshots, but others had been trampled while fleeing, or had been hurt climbing fences to escape the shooting.

“No one has experienced patient volumes to this level,” said Jennifer Cooper, a hospital spokeswoman.

As survivors poured into streets and buildings surrounding the concert site, and the police and paramedics streamed into the scene, unsure how many gunmen there were, the massacre shut down roads and highways; the police reported closing off about a mile of Las Vegas Boulevard and asked the public to steer clear of the area. Hours later, much of the city remained at shut down.

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, just east of the Mandalay, said that some flights destined for the airport were diverted because of police activity, and some of the people fleeing the scene ran to the airport, disrupting operations there.

Krystal Legette, who was visiting from New York, and several other people were at Sundance Helicopters office at the airport, waiting for a sightseeing flight around the city, when she said three women burst into the building, screaming, “They’re shooting, they’re shooting.” Then another woman came in, bleeding from a bullet wound in her right arm, and Ms. Legette, a nurse, and three others applied a tourniquet.

More and more people ran into the office, until about 100 people had taken shelter there, she said. A company worker turned out the lights, locked the doors and told everyone to go inside closets and other areas away from the windows.

The hotel itself was placed on virtual lockdown after the shooting, guests said.

“We went into the hotel and they started shutting down casinos,” Todd Price, a guest of Mandalay Bay, told CNN. “We tried to get into our rooms, and they shut down the elevators and started to get everybody out.”

The Route 91 Harvest Festival bills itself as “three days of country music on the Vegas Strip,” and Sunday night’s performance was the last of the festival. The site of the concert, the Las Vegas Village and Festival Grounds, run by MGM Resorts, sprawls over 15 acres and has a capacity of 40,000 people. The festival’s website said this year’s three-day concert was sold out.

In the first hours after the shooting, the police searched for a woman described as “a companion” of the gunman, Marilou Danley. Later, the sheriff said she had been located out of the country, and apparently was not with Mr. Paddock when he checked into the hotel, but that “he was utilizing some of her identification.”

Eric Paddock identified Ms. Danley as his brother’s girlfriend. “We were worried that he might have hurt her, too,” he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.