Long Lines Form as Vegas Residents Answer Call for Blood Donations After Mass Shooting
Long lines formed outside blood centers as Las Vegas residents responded to a call for donations after at least 515 people were wounded and 58 killed in the deadliest shooting on U.S. soil in history.
Local officials and police stressed the need for blood as the number of wounded rose from 100 in the initial report to over 500 just before noon on Monday, Oct. 2.
“If you have the ability to donate blood to help the cause, please do so,” Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval also joined the call for blood donations.
“We need blood,” Sandoval said.
People who are able to donate can go to 6930 W. Charleston in Las Vegas and 601 Whitney Ranch in Henderson, where United Blood Services will be collecting donations, Lombardo said, according to Fox News.
Photos on posted on social media showed long lines of volunteers forming to donate blood.
— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) October 2, 2017
— KTLA (@KTLA) October 2, 2017
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) October 2, 2017
Line to donate blood. I love my Las Vegas community. pic.twitter.com/iYg1vWmsVJ
— UnnamedSources#MAGA (@KittyKittyClaws) October 2, 2017
U.S. Rep. Ruben Kihuen visited the hospital where victims were taken, telling Associated Press that all of the staff were working hard to save lives.
“Literally, every single bed was being used, every single hallway was being used,” Kihuen said, according to the Associated Press. “Every single person there was trying to save a life.”
Authorities identified Stephen Paddock, 64, as the gunman. He fired from the window of his 32nd-floor room in Mandalay Resort and Casino. He fired what sounded like an automatic machine gun for several minutes before killing himself, police say.
Officers who searched the hotel room found 10 rifles inside. Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nevada, was also being searched.
Paddock’s motives were unclear and no connection to a terrorist group has been identified, the FBI said, although the ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility.
The barrage from a 32nd-floor window in the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of 22,000 people lasted several minutes, causing panic. Some fleeing fans trampled each other as police scrambled to find the gunman.
The preliminary death toll, which officials said could rise, eclipsed last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub by a gunman who pledged allegiance to ISIS terrorists.
Shocked concertgoers, some with blood on their clothing, wandered streets, where the flashing lights of the city’s gaudy casinos blended with those of emergency vehicles.
Police said they had no information about Paddock’s motive, that he had no criminal record and was not believed to be connected to any militant group. Paddock killed himself before police entered the hotel room he was firing from, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.
“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said. “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath.”
Federal officials said there was no evidence to link Paddock to international terrorism.
“We have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group,” FBI special agent in charge Aaron Rouse told reporters.
U.S. officials discounted a claim of responsibility for the attack made by ISIS, through its Amaq news agency.
“The Intelligence Community is aware of the claim of responsibility by a foreign terrorist organization for the shooting in Las Vegas,” CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu said in an email. “We advise caution on jumping to conclusions before the facts are in.”
One U.S. official said there was reason to believe that Paddock had a history of psychological problems.
Lombardo said there were more than 10 rifles in the room where Paddock killed himself. He had checked into the hotel on Thursday.
Police found several more weapons at Paddock’s home in Mesquite, about 82 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Mesquite police spokesman Quinn Averett told reporters.
Nevada has some of the most permissive gun laws in the United States. It does not require firearm owners to obtain licenses or register their guns.
The dead included one off-duty police officer, Lombardo said.
“He brutally murdered more than 50 people and wounded hundreds more. It was an act of pure evil,” U.S. President Donald Trump said in a White House address. He ordered flags lowered to half-staff in a national gesture of mourning and said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Leaders from around the world expressed shock and sadness at the news.
‘JUST KEPT GOING ON’
Video of the attack showed panicked crowds fleeing as sustained rapid gunfire ripped through the area.
“People were just dropping to the ground. It just kept going on,” said Steve Smith, a 45-year-old visitor from Phoenix, Arizona. He said the gunfire went on for an extended period of time.
“Probably 100 shots at a time,” Smith said. “It would sound like it was reloading and then it would go again.”
Las Vegas’s casinos, nightclubs, and shopping draw some 3.5 million visitors from around the world each year and the area was packed with visitors when the shooting broke out shortly after 10 p.m. local time (0400 GMT).
Shares of U.S. casino operators fell in morning trading on Wall Street, with MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay, down 3.5 percent. Shares of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, Wynn Resorts Ltd, and Las Vegas Sands Corp changed little.
Mike McGarry, a financial adviser from Philadelphia, was at the concert when he heard hundreds of shots ring out.
“It was crazy – I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good life,” McGarry said. The back of his shirt bore footmarks, after people ran over him in the panicked crowd.
The shooting broke out on the final night of the three-day Route 91 Harvest festival, a sold-out event featuring top acts such as Eric Church, Sam Hunt, and Jason Aldean.
The suspected shooter’s brother, Eric Paddock, said the family was stunned.
“We have no idea. We’re horrified. We’re bewildered and our condolences go out to the victims,” Eric Paddock said in a phone interview, his voice trembling. “We have no idea in the world.”
As with previous U.S. mass shootings, the incident sparked anger among advocates for gun control. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to bear arms, and gun-rights advocates staunchly defend that provision.
The FBI people who recorded videos and photos of the shooting to call 1-800-CALLFBI.
People looking to report a missing person can call 1-866-535-5654.
Reuters contributed to this report.