LAS VEGAS – The sheriff of Clark County referred to Marilou Danley, girlfriend of mass shooter Stephen Paddock, as a ‘person of interest’ on Tuesday afternoon and did not rule out what he called “future prosecution” suggesting some person might face charges for the 59 murders that happened here Sunday night.
Several blocks of Las Vegas Boulevard remain closed, making it difficult to access the Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay hotels, though they remain open.
No one can remember the last time this stretch of the strip was so quiet. A small memorial of balloons, bears, candles and flowers grew in a median as several survivors returned to the scene.
“Just sitting at the casino last night eating at the restaurant and somebody’s slot machine went off with the ‘TICK, TICK, TICK.’ I thought I was going to die and die alone with nobody by me,” said Johanna Ernst, of San Diego, Calif.
What happened Sunday night still haunts Ernst. She was in the audience watching Jason Aldean perform when the massacre began.
Ernst and her boyfriend, George Sanchez, escaped, though his left arm is bandaged from where he said a bullet struck him near the elbow.
“Fortunately, nothing major was hit,” said Sanchez. “The doctor said we’re going to leave the bullet in and not take it out. He said we can do more damage by trying to remove it.”
The two windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay, from where the shooter took aim, have yet to be replaced.
The FBI’s evidence collection team took over documenting the scene as Las Vegas still buzzes in the background.
A sling on Daniel Okun, 28, likely saved his life. Okun, a stagehand, threw his shoulder out of socket after setting up for Jason Aldean and packing up for Big & Rich.
“On the ambulance ride over there I was thinking why did this happen to me, and then I realized everything happens for a reason. Maybe this stopped me from getting hurt worse,” said Okun.
He got to Desert Springs Hospital about a half hour before the shooting started. Nurses moved him out of his room as patients with more serious injuries began to arrive by ambulance, pickup trucks and cars. The hospital even turned its emergency room lobby into a triage center after receiving so many patients, he recalled. Okun, with a minor injury, was eventually sent to another medical facility for his should injury.
Ernst still wears her purple armband allowing access into the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
“Until everybody is out of the hospital, I’m going to keep it on. Just pray for these people,” she added.
No one remembers the Las Vegas strip so silent. But this city, more than any other in America, is in need of some peace right now.
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