Lights Dimmed Over Las Vegas Strip After Tearful Vigil Marks One Week Since Massacre
The darkened Vegas Strip was a somber commemoration of the 58 lives lost to the worst shooting in modern U.S. history.
The lights of the famous Las Vegas Strip were dimmed Sunday in commemoration of the 58 lives lost at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
At the same time of night when shots first rang out exactly one week earlier, the normally dazzling signs of Sin City became a dark reminder of the terror that rained down on concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
"You look at everything different now," Eric Shultz told KTNV. "You walk down the Strip and it's just... different."
Shultz lives a few blocks from the Mandalay Bay. After Stephen Paddock's bloody assault killed dozens and injured more than 500, he and his wife took in eight terrified festivalgoers from the fearful street.
It is one story of both hope and tragedy among hundreds and Sunday's event gave those affected by the tragedy a safe space in which to share them.
With candles lit, flags raised and hands held in prayer, hundreds gathered to grieve together in what promises to be a long and difficult road to recovery.
"To show that we are still 'Vegas Strong' because we're not going to let tragedy and fear win over our city," Chelsey Morrison, who came to the event with her husband and children, told KTNV.
The crowd included Las Vegans of all stripes and others who've found themselves grappling with how to move forward in the wake of senseless gun violence.
"Unfortunately, sometimes it takes an unfortunate turn of events to bring a diverse group of people together, but it feels good to see all of these people from different backgrounds out here, all wanting to support, you know, the same cause, which is to show our love and support for the city and for the victims," Las Vegas resident Ashley Moore said.
Another Vegas citizen, Naima Zaheer, agreed.
"Well, today it's very heartwarming to see people from all different walks of life, different religions, different ethnic groups, some are from the town, some are from outside, some are tourists, they are all together and what binds them together is the love and the support for the poor victims of the Las Vegas Strip and their families and this is very heartwarming to see," Zaheer said.
The officers who led the initial raid of the shooter's hotel room have now publicly shared some of the scariest details of that night.
On 60 Minutes Sunday night, the makeshift SWAT team that first approached Paddock's room said he screwed a stairwell door shut to slow them down.
The officers also described how his room was so full of guns and ammo, they were tripping over it all as they entered the madman's lair, where they would soon find a startling outline of his sick plan on a yellow piece of paper.
"He must've gone online or done the calculations or something to figure it out of what his altitude was going to be, on how high up he was, how far out the crowd was going to be, and at that distance what the drop of his bullet was going to be," Officer Dave Newton, of the Las Vegas Police Department's K-9 unit, told 60 Minutes.
Ten minutes into his reign of terror, as bodies lay strewn across the fairgrounds and those who were able scrambled to safety, Paddock turned the gun on himself.
Sunday's dimming of the lights would also last for 10 minutes.
While the Oct. 1 tragedy hit startlingly close to home, the tradition of dimming the Las Vegas Strip's lights has happened following other grim circumstances.
The Strip was also darkened after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and was last dimmed to mark the death of legendary former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian in February 2015.
The deaths of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., George Burns and Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were marked similarly.
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