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Far from Strip, flashy hotels, Las Vegas seeks healing after mass shooting

In the healing park, everyone is welcome to walk, sit and reflect on the benches

AFP | PTI  |  Las Vegas 

Las Vegas shooting

Far from the Strip and its flashy hotels, a small park opened yesterday in the north of Las Vegas, as communities shaken by Sunday's horrific mass shooting join together to grieve.

One of its creators, landscape architect Mark Hamalmann, said it is a "remembrance garden," featuring 58 trees planted along a small paved walkway. In the middle, there is a large oak tree representing the "tree of life," while American flags adorn a wooden fence.

"Everything here is donated by local companies, everyone here is a volunteer, and it's just amazing how it's come together," Hamalmann, who oversaw the garden's construction, told AFP.

In the park, he explained, everyone is welcome to walk, sit and reflect on the benches, or leave messages on a wall of remembrance.

And there is little doubt is what needs.

Fifty-eight people died and nearly 500 were injured when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor country music festival -- an act that investigators are still at a loss to explain -- before taking his own life.

Since the shooting, "I can't sleep. I think probably the adrenaline is still running and I can't wrap my brain around what I saw," said Dori McKendry, a driver for rideshare startup Lyft.

McKendry was parked in front of the hotel Sunday night when Paddock started shooting from his 32nd-floor room.

Admitting she currently has a "mental and emotional feeling of insanity," McKendry said she has offered free rides to victims' families to help process what happened.

Thomas Fadden, who survived what was the deadliest shooting in recent US history, said it was scary "not to know who your neighbor could be."

Paddock, a retired accountant and high stakes gambler, lived quietly in the small town of Mesquite, Nevada, north of His neighbors, his family and even his girlfriend said they had no clue about what he was about to do.

First Published: Sat, October 07 2017. 15:01 IST