Las Vegas massacre: 4th year since tragedy stirs emotions, ceremonies
LAS VEGAS - The tragedy of Route 91 still resonates with many Southern Califoria residents where several of the shooting victims were from.
Three of the victims— Austin Davis, Thomas Day Jr., and Christopher Roybal lived, worked or played sports in the Corona area.
On Friday, the City of Corona plans to host a Route 91 Candlelight Vigil marking four years since the tragedy. The community is invited to remember the 58 lives lost in the tragic event, and additional two that later passed due to their injuries. The candlelight vigil will be held Oct. 1 from 7 p.m to 9 p.m. on the Remembrance Field at Eagle Glen Park.
Also in Thousand Oaks, "So Cal Route 91 Heals" will host a live-stream of the sunrise remembrance and an afternoon ceremony at Conejo Creek Park.
FOUR YEARS LATER
Jill Winter remembers the barrage of rapid-fire gunshots raining into a Las Vegas Strip country music concert crowd during what became the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history four years ago.
Like many around her, she thought at first it was fireworks. Then, people fell dead and wounded. Winter ducked for cover until police SWAT officers arrived and told her to run. She remembers yelling, "Make him stop! Make him stop!"
Winter, 49, lived in San Diego then. She now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and counsels others she calls "the Router family" who experienced the deadly night a gunman perched in a hotel killed 58 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. "Router" sounds better than "survivor," Winter explained. The deaths later of at least two others have brought the unofficial death toll to 60.
FILE - A hat is left at a makeshift memorial during a vigil to mark one week since the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on Oct. 8, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
"There is a lot of healing taking place," Winter said this week. "There are a lot of people who are still struggling. There are 22,000 of us that were there. That doesn’t even include other people that were impacted ... first responders, hospital employees, average citizens who were driving down the Strip. All those people and all those different stories."
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This is the first year since the shooting that Winter won’t be in Las Vegas to mark the anniversary at memorials like a sunrise ceremony at the Clark County Government Center and a 10:05 p.m. reading at a downtown Las Vegas Community Healing Garden of the names of those killed in the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre.
The 7 a.m. ceremony is set to feature comments from elected officials and Dee Ann Hyatt, whose brother Kurt von Tillow died in the shooting. Singer Matt Sky, who worked with Adam Levine on NBC’s "The Voice," will sing "Four Years After," a song composed for the anniversary by Mark R. Johnson and released with multi-Grammy award winner Alan Parsons.
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The tragedy of Route 91 still resonates with the community in Corona where several of the shooting victims were from.
Tennille Pereira, director of the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center, a Las Vegas program set up to support those affected by the shooting, noted that about 60% of tickets sold to the fateful concert were purchased by California residents.
Next year’s fifth anniversary may feature the dedication of a new memorial, Pereira said, at a corner of the former concert venue across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Mandalay Bay resort, where the shooter spent several days gathering an arsenal of assault-style rifles before breaking out windows of his 32nd floor suite and unleashing carnage.
FOX 11's Mario Ramirez contributed to this report.
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