On Oct. 1, 2017, a lone gunman opened fire on a crowd of 20,000-plus concertgoers from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay, on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. At last count, 59 people were killed and 527 injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the United States in recent history.
But Vegas, the vibrant and resilient city that it is, rapidly sprang into action. Police quickly identified the gunman—a Nevada resident who allegedly acted alone—and swarmed his hotel room, ending in his death. Properties surrounding Mandalay Bay were quickly locked down to ensure the safety of their guests. More than ever before, residents took to Facebook to check in and let family and friends know that they were safe, and to share information about blood drives and how to contact missing loved ones.
I’ve never been more proud of the city I lived and worked in for more than 17 years. Its roots go far beyond the tourist playground it’s most closely identified as; I’ve never seen such grit, such pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps-to-make-the-city-great than I’ve seen in Las Vegas. Vegas will hold strong, but we will never forget.
—Jennifer McKee, former Where Las Vegas editor
Every one of my friends in Las Vegas was touched in some way by this act of terror, whether attending the concert, helping victims afterward, donating time, money and blood, or learning that a loved one was shot or killed. My heart breaks for this city I love, and choking through the tears of sadness and anger, I’m proud of how Las Vegas showed its community pride by coming together. As Robert Kennedy once said, “Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.” Las Vegas will come back stronger than ever.
—Susan Stapleton, Where Las Vegas editor