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‘I am still scared’: Survey reveals lingering impact of Route 91 shooting

Updated August 28, 2021 - 12:35 pm

Ahead of the fourth anniversary of the Las Vegas mass shooting, the results of a recent planning survey for a permanent memorial laid bare the still-raw and far-reaching impact of the 2017 attack.

“I will never forget watching the news that night, calling all my friends, seeing people drop to the floor on the news replay. I am still scared at other events in the city, avoid the Strip on New Year’s and other holidays,” one survey respondent wrote.

The anecdote was among hundreds detailed in a report of the survey’s findings, which was released Wednesday by Clark County following the monthly meeting of the 1 October Memorial Committee, a seven-member group tasked with planning a memorial to honor the victims.

The survey ran from Aug. 2 to Aug. 15 and marked the second questionnaire conducted by the committee since March. Input from the surveys will help the committee draft an eventual recommendation for the memorial that must go before the Clark County Commission for approval.

A total of 5,199 people participated in the latest survey, 87 percent of whom identified themselves as Nevada residents, according to the report. Just over 12 percent said they live in the United States and less than 1 percent said they live internationally.

The shooting, which unfolded across the street from Mandalay Bay on Oct. 1, 2017, the final night of the Route 91 Harvest music festival, initially left 58 people dead and hundreds more injured. Two survivors later died from injuries suffered in the shooting.

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It remains the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, its impact reaching communities as far as Canada, the place of residence of four of the victims.

Question No. 6 in the latest survey — “How are/were you impacted by the 1 October shooting?” — elicited a wide range of emotional responses from first responders and journalists to hotel employees and medical workers. One respondent said their birthday falls on the date of the shooting, another described struggling with survivor’s guilt.

Here are some of their responses:

■ “I was working security dispatch and had a patrol officer in the area. I also had my PTSD from a different event send me into a panic attack while at work.”

■ “My husband and I are former Mandalay Bay employees and I have not been to a Strip hotel since that happened.”

■ “It makes me feel unsettled that this could happen again.”

■ “I listened to the whole entire thing on my police scanner. Listening to the police officers panicking and a few were crying which the whole thing made me cry listening as it was happening.”

■ “I provided extensive trauma counseling after the event. More than I think I have ever done in my career before or since.”

■ “My best friend is a survivor and I deal with the scars and recovery process for support.”

■ “My sister was murdered in the past and this shooting, like all other violent crimes, brings that original pain back.”

The survey also found that there is “strong agreement” among respondents that the permanent memorial include elements of education, including stories of heroism and support and resources for mental health. According to the report, nearly 93 percent of respondents want the memorial to incorporate a “symbolic representation of the 58 victims.”

When asked about this language and whether the committee will recognize the two survivors who later died, Clark County released the following emailed statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

“The memorial is intended to honor all those who were affected, including the 58 who died in the immediate aftermath, all those who were injured, including the two who unfortunately perished months later, all those who were traumatized, and those who were affected in other ways. Exactly how that will be done will be determined as we move through this process.”

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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