At Least 58 Dead, More Than 500 Injured In Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Originally published on October 2, 2017 11:58 pm
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

At least 59 people are dead, and more than 500 injured in Las Vegas after a gunman sprayed bullets last night from a hotel window high above an outdoor concert. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Medical Center is the state's only Level I trauma center, and spokeswoman Donita Cohen says ambulances full of the wounded began arriving late last night and coming for hours.

DONITA COHEN: It's devastating. This happened in our own backyard. You always think it will happen somewhere else, and it happened just down the road.

SIEGEL: Reporter Meghan McCarty Carino with member station KPCC joins us now from the hospital. And Meghan, first, what can you tell us about the people who have died?

MEGHAN MCCARTY CARINO, BYLINE: Well, at this point, police have not yet released the identities of the victims, but we can say that a hospital in Paris, Tenn., has confirmed that one of its employees, a registered nurse named Sonny Melton, is among those who were killed. He was attending the concert with his wife. A second confirmed victim is Lisa Romero-Muniz. The Gallup-McKinley County schools put out a release saying she was an employee of that school district in western New Mexico.

And a third victim's name is confirmed. The Manhattan Beach Police in the Las Angeles area say Rachel Parker was a civilian employee of the department. She was 1 of 4 from that department that had come to attend the concert. And there's also confirmation from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police that an unnamed off-duty police officer is also among the dead. Again, no official list has been released by police yet.

SIEGEL: You're at the University Medical Center. What can you tell us about the wounded who have been taken there?

CARINO: Well, we know that there had been 104 wounded admitted here. And of those, four people were lethally injured and have died. The rest break down into three groups. Essentially there are 12 people in critical condition now. Those are the most seriously wounded. A hospital official said about 40 people that were admitted last night have been treated for minor injuries and have already been released. The rest are somewhere in the middle - you know, people who sustained injuries. They're still being treated, but they're not considered life-threatening at this time.

SIEGEL: Now, since the hospital is Nevada's only Level I trauma center, it's presumably prepared to treat the most serious injuries. Was it equipped to handle so many of them at once?

CARINO: Well, yes, you know, this is the kind of thing that they train for, this kind of mass casualty event. But that being said, the hospital was at capacity overnight, and it's pretty much been all hands on deck. You know, I spoke earlier to a trauma surgeon, Jay Coates, who's been here since last night when the victims started arriving, and here's how he described the scene.

JAY COATES: We had every bed full, people stacked in the hallways. And it was a matter of just triaging those patients. So you're taking the ones that are dying the fastest. Those are the ones you're trying to get in the operating room. It was just nonstop.

CARINO: Doctor Coates said he treated all manner of bullet wounds. They had nine operating rooms going at a time and continued operating pretty much nonstop until about 5 this morning.

SIEGEL: And we've heard several officials say that hospitals urgently need donations of blood. What are you seeing there?

CARINO: Well, officials here at University Medical Center are saying they do currently have enough blood on hand for their current load of patients. But they're holding a blood drive here as well, and the turnout has just been immense. There's been a line down the block since I arrived. And they have actually turned away people for the rest of today. It's been so crowded with people wanting to donate.

SIEGEL: That's Meghan McCarty Carino of member station KPCC at University Medical Center in Las Vegas. Meghan, thanks.

CARINO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.