San Diego Supports Victims of Las Vegas Mass Shooting

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Investigators work at a festival grounds across the street from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Las Vegas. Authorities said Stephen Craig Paddock broke windows on the casino and began firing with a cache of weapons, killing dozens and injuring hundreds at the music festival on Sunday. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Residents of San Diego County who were affected by the Las Vegas mass shooting could qualify for local services and resources, according to an announcement by San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan.

Even though this tragedy did not occur in San Diego, local residents may still be entitled to receive help from the State of California. Those interested in assistance can contact the District Attorney’s Office Victim Services Division.

“Words cannot adequately express the pain left in the wake of the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas that caused the senseless loss of innocent lives and the injury of hundreds more,” Stephan said in the statement.

On the night of Sunday, Oct. 1, a gunman opened fire on concert goers in Las Vegas, ending the lives of 58 individuals and leaving more than 500 injured, in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

The shooting began during the performance of country singer Jason Aldean at the open-air Route 91 Harvest music festival at the MGM Grand Las Vegas.

According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the shooter fired at concert-goers from his room on the 32nd floor the the Mandalay Bay Hotel at approximately 10:08 p.m.

The 64-year-old gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, was found dead with more than 20 guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunitions as officers entered the room.

Law enforcement is currently continuing their investigation on Paddock and are interviewing his girlfriend Marilou Danley who returned from the Philippines on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Fred Rowbotham, a police agent for the Chula Vista Police Department who was celebrating his 45th birthday at the concert, spoke during a press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 4, and shared his experience.

He recalls that there was confusion in the audience as to where and how many active shooters were present because many were getting information on social media as the shooting was occurring.

Rowbotham, however, said he immediately recognized the sound of gunshots when the shooting began, but he was trying to find an explanation for it until gunfire started up again. He had identified several exits prior to the shooting so he ran toward one with his wife and group.

He said that in his 20 years as a police officer he has never experienced something like what happened in Las Vegas.

“It’s absolutely different from hearing the sound of guns being shot to the sounds of bullets coming by you,” Rowbotham said.

Rowbotham was grazed by a bullet in his left hip but refused to go the the hospital because he did not think it was necessary to go when compared to the injuries of others, he said.

“(It) blows my mind how somebody could ever get to a point in their life where they would do something like this,” Rowbotham said. “It is just unimaginable to me.”

President Donald Trump paid a visit to the city to meet with first responders and victims on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

He shared on his Twitter account on Thursday, Oct. 5, “So wonderful to be in Las Vegas yesterday and meet with people, from police to doctors to the victims themselves, who I will never forget!”

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) spoke with CNN on Wednesday and explained that she did not attend the moment of silence Monday on Capitol Hill because she thought it was hypocritical.

“That’s all we do we have a moment of silence and then we are silent, there is no action,” Speier told CNN. “We never do anything about it so these moments of silence are really only for the headlines and I’m tired of the hypocrisy.”

On Thursday, Oct. 5, in light of the Las Vegas mass shooting the National Rifle Association released a statement announcing its support for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to review if bump fire stocks comply with federal law.

According to reports, Paddock had bump fire stocks, which can be used to modify rifles.

The statement goes on to urge Congress to pass the National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which according to the NRA would allow, “law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”

In contrast, several politicians as a result of the shooting have expressed an interest in a call for gun control.

Among those who lost their lives was San Diego attorney Jennifer T. Irvine.

Several off-duty San Diego Police Department Officers and San Diego Fire Department firefighters were at the music festival. According to fire department spokesperson Monica Muñoz one was injured as a result of the shooting.

Chula Vista Police Department Chief Roxana Kennedy spoke with Rowbotham the day of the shooting and said she is thankful that Police Agent Rowbotham is okay.

Rowbotham who is the special events manager for the department is familiar with concert and event security, so when he was at the event he felt that Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department did a good job but there was no way to fight back in this case.

“There is no fighting back against somebody with a rifle some 30 stories up,” he said.

Upon his arrival home, Rowbotham said he was happy to be with his children of 12 and 8 years old and reassure them that everything was okay.

“I feel tremendously lucky to have gotten out with friends and family, absolutely relatively unscathed when you contrast that to those who were unable to,” Rowbotham said.

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