Amid tragedy, Las Vegans rush to help one another

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In the wake of the worst shooting in modern U.S. history, people across Las Vegas, Nevada are coming together to help one another and offer support for those impacted by the tragedy.

At least 58 people are dead and more than 500 injured after a shooter opened fire on a crowded concert where 22,000 people were gathered Sunday night. The alleged attacker, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, is also dead and officials are releasing more information to the public as it becomes available.

But while they wait for answers, residents of Las Vegas aren’t wasting any time. City officials put out a call for blood donations following the massacre.

“What we ask for is blood, that’s the main thing right now, is that if our people want to do something and they are healthy, then please donate blood,” Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said on Monday. The office of Nevada’s attorney general also took to Twitter to share the locations of various blood donation centers, directing those interested in helping to areas where they were most needed.

Las Vegans quickly spread the word on social media, calling on one another to join the cause. “My fellow Las Vegans, roll up ur sleeves & head over to UMC. Shooting victims need blood,” wrote one Twitter user.

Many took those pleas to heart, running to find areas where they could donate blood and help those injured. As the sun crept up in Nevada, blood donation lines stretched round the corner of area centers — with some residents showing up as early as 3 a.m.

By noon, representatives for United Blood Services told reporters all donation spots were full for the next week due to an outpouring of support from local residents — and that the line outside was six hours long.

Donating blood wasn’t the only way people pitched in to help following the tragedy. Local businesses and establishments stepped up, as did other area staples. At the Reno-Tahoe airport, families were offered private space and encouraged to call their local airline representatives.

A GoFundMe started by Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak also circulated widely in the hours following the shooting, allowing people outside of the region to show their support for those impacted by the massacre.

“We are raising funds to assist the victims of the tragic Las Vegas shooting,” the page’s mission statement reads, part of a message from Sisolak. “I spent last night with Sheriff Lombardo at Clark County’s only level-one trauma center. Funds will be used to provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of the horrific Las Vegas mass shooting​.”

On the fund’s page, contributors shared their support for the victims, as well as their faith in Las Vegas and the city’s ability to endure.

“Love and prayers to my fellow Las Vegans who have been hurt by this unspeakable act,” wrote one supporter. “Prayers for my city and to all those affected,” wrote another. “Humanity will prevail.”

By Monday afternoon, the fund had raised nearly $900,000 — bringing it within close range of its $1,000,000 goal.

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