memorial_mandalay_holmes.jpg

Brent Holmes

A makeshift memorial for those gunned down on the Las Vegas Strip Sunday night.

A Solemn Scene On The Strip

Wednesday - three days after the tragic shooting on the Las Vegas Strip - people who ran for their lives, were able to pick up their cars from near the Route 91 Harvest festival site.

Producer Fred Wasser went to the Mandalay Bay where he found the casino floor virtually empty. He said he talked to employees at a food establishment that said it is usually not this quiet.

He was escorted from the casino to area outside the property. He found the makeshift memorial and talked to people there. 

The makeshift memorial outside Mandalay Bay/Credit: Brent Holmes

Jill from Palm Springs:

I came up to donate blood. I’m a grievance counselor to help with the families. So, I’ve been here to help with the families. I meet with Dina Titus, very nice woman. I’ve never seen so many people n Vegas come together through this terrible evil incident. I’m just here to help. And everybody needs to get along no matter what, Republican, Democrat, liberals but Vegas did, black, white – we all bleed red.

I pray for the families and for the victims. And we all just need to stick together.

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People pose in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign and a makeshift memorial/Credit: Brent Holmes

 

Marlene from England:

We just came to pay our respects to the people.

Wasser: You weren’t here for the festival were you?

Marlene: No, actually we were going to go to the country festival and we decided not to. Very sad.

Wasser: what are you seeing here?

Marlene: Seeing people coming together. These things happen. This is the complexity of the human mind. It’s complex. It’s just very puzzling.

The makeshift memorial at the Las Vegas sign/Credit: Brent Holmes

Shaylene from Henderson:

We just wanted to have our first time down here. We’ve been kind of nervous about it since it happened, but we figured it was time.

Wasser: You weren’t at the festival.

Shaylene: Oh no, we were home. But I heard all the sirens, because we live just on the Henderson side. We heard all the Henderson fire and rescue heading this way. Didn’t know what was going on but I heard it.

Wasser: Are you nervous for Las Vegas? Tourism is our lifeblood?

Shaylene: Slightly, but I think we’ll bounce back. I’ve seen a lot of people around the nationwide and around the world and even online that they’re not going to stop coming here. That they love coming to Vegas. I think for the short time it might slow down but we’ll be fine.

Wasser: Can you tell me your feelings about gun control?

Shaylene: I don’t think right now is the time to really discuss gun control. We’re so fresh with this tragedy. I don’t want my guns taken away. I want my rights, but I mean, he used a pump something that he altered the gun. I think things like that should be taken away. They shouldn’t be legal. 

The makeshift memorial outside Mandalay Bay/Credit: Fred Wasser

Craig was catering:

We heard the pop, pop, pops. We have some veterans who work in our kitchens that obviously have some shellshock. We thought it was fireworks. The music stopped and popping continued and that’s when we realized it was gunshots.

We got everyone into a refrigerated truck that we had on site as quick as we could. People from the show started filing into the kitchen. It was stage left, backstage. There’s no way out that way. So, we stacked a couple of ice chests on top of each other and started throwing people over the fence as quick as we could.

It is so hard to talk about.

I keep hearing those popping sounds in my head and I know that those popping sounds are the sound of lives being lost. Lots of families woke up without a mom or a dad or a child. We just pray for those families.

The memorial near Mandalay Bay/Credit: Brent Holmes

Sonya was an usher:

It was the last day. We worked three days, 12-hour shifts each day. We were on the last day. And everybody got to meet a lot of people and became friends with our co-workers. We were on our last day and everybody was excited that it was finally going to be over.

All that just broke out. And everything was in chaos. I didn’t know where to go, what to do. I was in shock, just lost.

Wasser: Tell me about when you heard the first shot?

Actually, I thought they were fireworks. Everyone thought they were fireworks. My co-worker said, ‘Oh, they have fireworks.’  Then after about four or five shots, they stopped sounding like fireworks. They started hitting off the tin on the buildings. It started ricocheting off and someone said, ‘those aren’t fireworks! Those are gunshots! Everybody get down!’

We dropped to the ground. And then it went on for a little bit and then it stopped. And then they said, ‘Everyone get inside! Get inside!’ So, we ran inside to the suites. Then a couple seconds later, it started ricocheting again off the suites. Everybody said, ‘Run! Run outside! Run as far away from the venue!’

We just started running and running. As I was running, people were falling to the side of me, people were falling in back of me. I could hear people screaming and hollering.

Then I fell, and a guy fell on top of my leg. They helped me into a Budweiser truck and that’s where I stayed until it was all over.

A police officer opened the door and he had to carry me out on his back because my leg was really bad off. I couldn’t walk on it. They brought me to the street. When I got to the street, he said, ‘look up! do not look down!’ but of course, I looked down and I saw bodies just everywhere. Some were being worked on. Some were covered, their faces were covered. Some whole bodies were covered. They were everywhere.

People were screaming and hollering. People putting people in the back of their cars and their trucks were to try to get them to the hospital, to get them some help.

It was like something out of a horror movie.

I can’t sleep. I can’t really eat. Every time I think about it, it’s just too much.

 

Makeshift memorial at Mandalay Bay/Credit: Fred Wasser

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Joan Wasser turned a prolific session-player career into her own band, Joan as Police Woman. Her latest album, <em>The Solution Is Restless</em>, began as a marathon jam with Afrobeat innovator Tony Allen.
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