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Community pours out support to victims of mass shooting on Las Vegas Strip offering food, blood donations

Jackie Valley
Jackie Valley
Criminal JusticeLocal GovernmentOctober 1

The only bright spot in Las Vegas the day after a mass shooting at a country musical festival on the Las Vegas Strip left more than 50 dead is the outpouring of support from the community members, who have offered shelter, food and even their blood to aid the more than 500 victims injured in the attack.

Carlos Soto, the head electrician at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center, arrived on site around 1:30 a.m. to help with refuge efforts underway at the arena that normally hosts college basketball games and entertainment events. Early this morning it was simply a shelter, providing a place for tourists displaced from their hotel rooms and concertgoers who fled the carnage several blocks away.

"You had people from the venue, from the concert itself, still bloodied and missing shoes," he said.

People were confused, crying, desperately trying to get information about friends they knew who also attended the concert, he said. He estimates 2,500 to 3,000 people were inside at one point.

Meanwhile, as news spread and community members felt called to help, donations poured into the arena. Water. Doughnuts. Cookies. Tooth brushes. Phone chargers. Coffee.

Others showed up to offer rides back to the Strip once resorts gave the all-clear to allow guests back on property, said Calvin Milling, who works in UNLV's risk management and safety department. Regional Transportation Commission buses as well as Uber and Lyft drivers also helped ferry people to their needed destinations early this morning. Most of those who sought shelter at the arena had left by 8 a.m., officials said.

"Our citizens are definitely coming through," Soto said Monday morning as employees and volunteers sorted donations outside the Thomas & Mack Center.

The donations were being sent to United Blood Services locations in Las Vegas and Henderson.

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