LAS VEGAS — Known for its party-like atmosphere, the Las Vegas Strip draws tourists from around the world to its casinos, bars and restaurants for vacation or to celebrate a milestone.
But the festivities were subdued Monday in the wake of a mass shooting that left 59 people dead and at least 500 wounded at a music festival.
For some, it ruined the mood to enjoy their getaways. And locals worried how the deadly episode would affect the local economy.
Cesar Corral, 44, flew into Las Vegas on Sunday night a few hours before police say Stephen Paddock fired at concertgoers from a 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay Resort. Corral and his wife are in town to celebrate his birthday Oct. 5.
For now, he said, he will enjoy his time as much as he can before he returns home to Antioch, Calif., on Wednesday.
“The atmosphere here is sad,” he said shortly after he took a selfie with his wife. “I can’t help but think about the victims’ families.”
Abraham Rodriguez, 33, who has lived in Las Vegas since he was a teenager, stood on a street corner Monday afternoon, passing out bottles of water. He held a sign saying he was offering water, rides or shelter for anyone who needed it.
‘I just hope this doesn’t keep people away’
In the aftermath of the shooting, among his concerns was how this would affect the local economy, he said. He works as an event planner for various hotels and other local venues setting up electronic signs, organizing conference rooms or stages, he said. Without a constant continuity in tourists visiting or out-of-town sponsors hosting events in Las Vegas, his job would slow down, he said.
“I just hope this doesn’t keep people away from coming to Vegas,” he said.
Brandon Quintero, 37, of Austin, Texas, stood on a bridge on the Strip while taking pictures of police officers posted outside Mandalay Bay. The excitement he felt when he arrived Thursday for a short vacation with his girlfriend is gone.
“This morning I saw people with their heads down and were in awe,” he said. “They didn’t know what to say about it.”
He spent most of Monday thinking about the victims’ families.
“I can’t imagine having a daughter or son who came for a concert and now they’re not going back home,” he said, adding, “I had similar feeling when 9/11 happened.”
‘We are Las Vegas’
Jon Dimaya, a Las Vegas nurse, triaged victims of the Las Vegas massacre as they were admitted to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center Sunday night, October 1, 2017, after a gunman opened fire on a country music festival. Tom Tingle/azcentral.com
Jon Dimaya, 40, was with his daughter on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sunset Road holding a sign that read, “We are Las Vegas. We are Battle Born.” The slogan “We are Battle Born” recalls when Nevada became part of the Union in 1864 during the Civil War.
Dimaya, a nurse at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, said that while Las Vegas is known as a tourist destination, people born or raised here have a sense a pride about their hometown.
“This happened in our backyard, so whenever something bad happens in your home, you come together,” he said.
Dimaya said he was called in to work Sunday at about midnight and took cake of victims with gunshot wounds. He said that many of the hospital’s off-duty employees rushed in to help.
He described a chaotic scene as patients poured in the doors.
“It’s nothing live you’ve seen before,” he said. “It was like it was a battlefield with soldiers who were just shot.”
‘Things like this are happening more often’
Gabriel Moreno, 41, drove nine hours to Las Vegas from Albuquerque, N.M., with his wife and his three daughters Saturday. After the shooting, he wanted to gather his family and drive home as soon as possible, but staff at the hotel where he stayed didn’t let him go outside for safety reasons.
On Monday, as he and his wife took one last stroll on the strip before driving out, his daughters stayed back at the hotel. They were worried of what would happen if they walked around, he said.
“Things like this are happening more often,” Moreno said. “So we’re feeling insecure. I mean, you go on vacation with your family and don’t know what’s going to happen out there. You have to think twice now.”
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