All Of Las Vegas Feels A Deep Pain After Sunday's Shooting

Oct 4, 2017
Originally published on October 4, 2017 7:39 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, we are broadcasting from the heart of the tourist experience here in Las Vegas. Las Vegas Boulevard spreads out beneath our window, the Strip. The Paris Casino, complete with the Eiffel Tower - a replica of it - stands across the way. The Mandalay Bay is down the street, where a gunman opened fire. There's another side to Vegas, a city that some 2 million people call home. NPR's Leila Fadel reports on the wound that that city suffered on Sunday.

ANGEL GOMEZ: Oh, my gosh. I love you.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Angel Gomez hugs friends at a vigil near the Las Vegas Strip. She came here for support.

GOMEZ: This is home. This is home.

FADEL: She survived the shooting at a country music festival. She'd gone with her daughter. She describes the sound of gunfire that night.

GOMEZ: Bap (ph), bap, bap, bap and continue. And then it would stop. And then it would continue again. And just getting up and running, I had my daughter with me - she's 16 - and just running, trying to save her life.

FADEL: Tonight, she finally got her daughter to sleep.

GOMEZ: She saw some stuff she shouldn't have seen at such a young age.

FADEL: A woman's leg shattered by a bullet, people dropping from gunshots, Gomez's friends giving CPR to someone he could not save. Now, Gomez is back on the Strip, near the scene of what happened. She's a craps dealer and a single mom. It's hard, she says, but she has to work. The Strip is a transient place, but all around it are people who live and work here. Even those who weren't there that night feel a deep pain.

(SOUNDBITE OF WIND CHIMES)

FADEL: Katie Krikorian lives on a tree-lined street about 20 minutes from the Strip.

KATIE KRIKORIAN: Did you draw on the window? Who did that?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: (Unintelligible).

FADEL: Most of her time she spends with her three kids. She says she feels like life in Las Vegas has changed forever.

KRIKORIAN: The Strip is in a constant state of metamorphosis, but those of us that live here, that will remain here, there's fear in our hearts that we didn't have before.

FADEL: She's thinking about quitting her part-time gig driving Uber on the weekend. And she's not sure how to just go back to normal.

KRIKORIAN: It's really weird to bring my son to school in the morning. It feels like kind of macabre to go on with your life after something that massive happens. If there was a giant flood, we wouldn't just keep going.

FADEL: Routine helps. She kept her standing engagement to feed the homeless this week.

KRIKORIAN: We're invested in our community. And the man that did this isn't part of our community. I'm part of our community. Other volunteers, other citizens that are reaching out to do good things are part of this community. And we will stay. And now, he is gone.

FADEL: Across town, Robyn Campbell sits outside the hospital where her 16-year-old son, Nick, is being treated for his gunshot wound.

ROBYN CAMPBELL: He loves basketball. He is in AP classes at his high school. And he's - this is really - he's got lots of friends. He's smart. He's polite.

FADEL: When the shooting started, he jumped on top of his girlfriend to protect her. A bullet pierced his shoulder and shattered inside his chest, breaking two of his ribs and bruising his lungs. Nick called his dad. Campbell and her husband rushed to the concert, but the streets were blocked. A stranger picked her son up and put him in an Uber. A woman was in the back seat with her wounded husband. She called Campbell.

CAMPBELL: And she goes, oh, my name is Wendy (ph). I just want to let you know I have your son in the car. And I'm going to take care of him. We're going to go to the hospital.

FADEL: Her other son is already back at school. She and her husband will go back to work eventually, but she's a different mother now, a mother who doesn't want her children to leave her sight. Leila Fadel, NPR News, Las Vegas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.