LV vigil pays homage to Calif. vic­tims

Shoot­ing hits close to home for Route 91 Har­vest sur­vivors

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - NATION - By Kate­lyn New­berg Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal

Sur­vivors of the Route 91 Har­vest fes­ti­val at­tack gath­ered in Las Ve­gas for a Fri­day night vigil to honor the 12 vic­tims of an­other mass shoot­ing, one that hit close to home for many.

The Border­line Bar and Grill in Thou­sand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia, had be­come a gath­er­ing place for sur­vivors of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shoot­ing. On Fri­day night, Route 91 sur­vivors gath­ered at the Las Ve­gas Com­mu­nity Heal­ing Gar­den to re­mem­ber those who died in Wed­nes­day’s shoot­ing, which hap­pened dur­ing the bar’s weekly Col­lege Coun­try Night.

“This one is es­pe­cially hard,” Sta­cie Armentrout, 38, told the crowd, de­scrib­ing the “fam­ily” of Route 91 sur­vivors.

“We lost one of our own fam­ily mem­bers that night,” she said. “We have fam­ily mem­bers that are re­ally strug­gling right now.”

Armentrout, who sur­vived the Route 91 shoot­ing with her hus­band and chil­dren, led the group in a 12-sec­ond-long mo­ment of si­lence for the 12 vic­tims of Wed­nes­day’s shoot­ing. Her voice cracked when she read their names, tears run­ning down her face by the time she reached 27-year-old Telemachus Or­fanos.

She said Or­fanos “helped so many on Route 91 es­cape. He was one of our heroes that night.”

“I met him at an event once,” she said af­ter the vigil. “I know that him and an­other guy had helped sev­eral peo­ple get out that night.”

Af­ter the vigil, Ja­son Proc­tor, 45, stood near an Amer­i­can flag at half-staff. Af­ter his wife sur­vived the Route 91 at­tack, in which his neigh­bors were killed, the Thou­sand Oaks shoot­ing felt “close to home,” he said.

Proc­tor said he’s made plaques hon­or­ing Route 91 vic­tims. He plans to hand-de­liver an­other one to Ja­son Coff­man, a fa­ther who was shown on tele­vi­sion des­per­ately try­ing to find his 22-year-old son, Cody, who died in the Thou­sand Oaks shoot­ing.

What both­ers Proc­tor more than any­thing, he said, is that it feels like mass shoot­ings have be­come “al­most nor­mal.”

“That’s the worst,” he said, “see­ing the flags at half-mast all the time.”

Delna Lan­caster, 50, and Mark Strick­land, 51, both sur­vived the Route 91 shoot­ing and are en­gaged. Strick­land said he felt for the fam­ily of Ron Helus, a 54-year-old Ven­tura County Sher­iff ’s Depart­ment sergeant killed in Wed­nes­day’s shoot­ing.

“He paid the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice,” Strick­land said. “But he en­gaged the threat like you’re sup­posed to, and he gave his life to save other peo­ple. He was a true hero.”

Af­ter the lat­est mass shoot­ing, Lan­caster said she felt frus­tra­tion along with sad­ness.

“I can’t un­der­stand why this is hap­pen­ing way too of­ten,” she said. “I don’t know what can be done.”

Con­tact Kate­lyn New­berg at knew­berg@re­viewjour­nal.com or 702-383-0240. Fol­low @k_new­berg on Twit­ter.

Michael Quine

Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal @Ve­gas88s A vigil or­ga­nized by Route 91 sur­vivors at the Las Ve­gas Com­mu­nity Heal­ing Gar­den on Fri­day honors the 12 peo­ple killed in a shoot­ing in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif.

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