Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence speaks in Las Ve­gas, de­liv­ers mes­sage of unity.

Vice pres­i­dent of­fers solace to city

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jamie Munks • Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal

VICE PRES­I­DENT Mike Pence grieved with Las Ve­gas on Satur­day, con­vey­ing a mes­sage of sol­i­dar­ity and solace to a city in mourn­ing.

“Today we are all Ve­gas strong,” Pence said, speak­ing in Las Ve­gas six days after the mass shoot­ing at the Route 91 Har­vest coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val that claimed 58 lives and in­jured 489 more.

Pence on Satur­day re­counted tales of hero­ism from Sun­day night’s mass shoot­ing — con­cert­go­ers and first re­spon­ders who helped oth­ers find safety de­spite be­ing in­jured them­selves. Pence was at Las Ve­gas City Hall, the end point of a Prayer Unity Walk on Satur­day morn­ing.

“In the wake of tragedy, we put on love,” Pence said.

Pence’s speech in Las Ve­gas fol­lows Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s visit Wed­nes­day, when he met with first re­spon­ders and spoke with in­jured peo­ple at Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Amer­i­cans woke Mon­day morn­ing to learn Las Ve­gas was the site of the worst mass shoot­ing in re­cent Amer­i­can his­tory, “a tragedy of unimag­in­able pro­por­tions,” Pence said.

A gun­man on the 32nd floor of the Man­dalay Bay sprayed bul­lets into the crowd of 22,000 peo­ple dur­ing Ja­son Aldean’s set at the end of the three-day coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val.

Las Ve­gas “came face to face with pure evil,” and “we’re united in our re­solve to end such evil in our time,” Pence said.

Pence’s wife, Karen, gave the clos­ing prayer, be­fore Pence shook

hands with po­lice of­fi­cers and spoke with crowd mem­bers, many of whom had been part of the walk.

“We will re­mem­ber their self­less­ness and courage when­ever we re­mem­ber that dark hour,” Pence said. “He­roes give us hope.”

Beyond the neon lights

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said the shoot­ing’s af­ter­math has re­shaped the way the rest of the world sees Las Ve­gas, from a city of en­ter­tain­ment to a com­mu­nity that will be there for one an­other when it’s needed most.

“Beyond the neon lights and the at­trac­tion of Las Ve­gas beats the heart of a true home, a true fam­ily,” Heller said.

“On Oct. 1, a mad­man tar­geted our city. A mad­man brought evil and vi­o­lence to our city. A mad­man tried to change our lives,” Heller said, adding the shooter ul­ti­mately failed “be­cause today we stand closer, stronger and more united.”

Sen. Cather­ine Cortez Masto said Las Ve­gas is still a small city in some ways — many peo­ple knew some­one at­tend­ing the Route 91 fes­ti­val. Cortez Masto said her niece was there.

“I’m an­gry, I’m sad,” Cortez Masto said. “But most of all I’m so proud of our city.”

Par­tic­i­pants in Satur­day’s unity walk trekked for miles to City Hall, from all di­rec­tions. Those who walked car­ried posters de­pict­ing the city sky­line and the words “Ve­gas Strong.” Many wore shirts with the same mes­sage.

‘Love in the streets’

The walk had been planned for Oct. 7 for months, and or­ga­nizer the Rev. Kevin Chap­man saw that as a sign. The plans grew this week, into a way for peo­ple to heal and grieve after Sun­day’s mass shoot­ing.

“God knew,” Chap­man said.

Sara Sze­lap, who’s lived in Las Ve­gas for 17 years, woke up dev­as­tated Mon­day morn­ing. She drove down Charleston Boule­vard to give blood and saw a line of peo­ple snaking down the street.

“In the wake of disas­ter, there’s so much love in the streets,” Sze­lap said.

Out­side City Hall Satur­day, 58 doves were re­leased from their cages, each one rep­re­sent­ing a per­son who was killed Sun­day night.

War­ren Wil­liams, 67, wore an orange shirt dec­o­rated with peace signs and car­ried a sign that said “Only Peace Proves Hu­man­ity’s Ge­nius.” On the cen­ter of the Army vet­eran’s shirt was a gi­ant heart with a peace sign in the mid­dle.

He played a song loud on the boom­box, a sound­track he made the day be­fore. With mu­sic in the back­ground, a voice listed the names and cities of each of the 58 vic­tims.

“Prayer is medicine after the fact,” he said. “How are we gonna pre­vent it?”

Las Ve­gas will con­tinue to be a safe place to live and visit, Las Ve­gas Mayor Carolyn Good­man em­pha­sized.

Good­man called the shooter “a hor­rific, sense­less an­i­mal,” and said she “will never men­tion that name.”

“We will not be defined by hate. Vi­o­lence. We will not be defined by anger,” Good­man said. “And we will not be defined by fear.”

El­iz­a­beth Brum­ley Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, with his wife, Karen Pence, speaks after a unity walk Satur­day, as Rep. Dina Ti­tus, D-Nev., left, and Las Ve­gas Mayor Carolyn Good­man look on.

El­iz­a­beth Brum­ley Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, with his wife, Karen Pence, speaks Satur­day fol­low­ing a unity prayer walk.

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