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Shooting in Las Vegas: the shots, “then the silence”

Ⓒ AFP – Robyn Beck – | Flowers, messages, candles after the murderous shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Hotel, October 3, 2017 in Las Vegas

In Las Vegas, meditation is sometimes too hard. Destiny Albers burst into tears in his mother’s arms before sitting long in front of the small memorial to the victims of the slaughter, installed near the hotel-casino Mandalay Bay.

She returns for the first time on Tuesday, when Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old retiree, set off on Sunday night a deluge of fire at a country concert on the other side of the boulevard. He killed 58 people Sunday night, more than any shooter in the modern history of the United States, before committing suicide. More than 500 people were also injured. According to the police, he shot for about ten minutes on the crowd.

In tears, Destiny does not want to talk, so her mother, Bonnie Albers, tells AFP: her daughter was in concert with a friend who was wounded. “She called me on the phone and told me she loved me, she had to help her girlfriend or she was going to die.” You hear the ta-ta-ta (shots). then silence, and I thought it was the end. ” His parents rode all night from their home in California. They are now reunited in Las Vegas, and Destiny’s friend has been saved.

Elsewhere in the city, other places of contemplation have been set up. On a wide sidewalk in the northern part of the strip, the famous boulevard that runs through the city, one of them gathers candles, balloons, messages of peace and hope at the corner of a busy crossroads.

Alone, as a couple, as a family or as a group, people come to pay tribute to the victims, making a moment of silence. Some pray.

Jennifer Zuccolo, a Canadian tourist, left a teddy bear. “The teddy bear comforts me, so I hope it will also comfort others,” she said.

Ⓒ AFP – Robyn Beck – | People gather at a memorial near the Mandalay Bay Hotel after a murderous shooting, October 3, 2017 in Las Vegas

Coming with a friend, she leaves this Tuesday night for Toronto. “That someone can do that, it leaves me speechless, it’s really disgusting, I’m looking forward to understanding or having answers on his gesture.”

– ‘Everyone is connected’ –

“Our life has changed,” says Briana Calderon, who knew that a drama could happen in her hometown.

With her friends, Cynthia Olvera and Roberto Lopez, the 17-year-old girl lit a candle.

“It’s a small town, everyone knows, it could have been our parents, anyone, even us, we’re used to going out, we’re not safe anymore now,” says Briana .

“We are not afraid,” said his friend Roberto Lopez, “but we are more cautious, we knew that something could happen.”

The city, adds Briana Calderon, “is very touristy, it really is a target of choice for terrorists”.

The Las Vegas police described the perpetrator as a “lone wolf,” hammering that he acted alone. The Islamic State (EI) said it was one of its “soldiers”, converted to Islam, but authorities said on Tuesday that it has yet to find anything linking Stephen Paddock to the jihadist group.

“There are changes in our lives, we are more cautious,” says Cynthia Olvera. However, she sees good things born of this drama as the solidarity shown by the inhabitants to help the victims.

“Today more than ever, communities are together, they are there for each other, everyone is connected,” she said.

With her friend, she dried classes in high school to give blood in the morning, at the call of the authorities who feared to miss after the drama. Several hundred people responded to the call.

“We are doing it to (help) the seriously wounded,” says Cynthia. “You have to give as much as you can,” adds Briana.

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