Vice President Mike Pence Pays Respect To Victims Of Las Vegas Massacre

Oct 7, 2017
Originally published on October 10, 2017 7:15 pm
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to begin the program in Las Vegas, a city that remains in mourning following the mass shooting nearly a week ago. Vice President Mike Pence is there today to pay his respects to the 58 victims and nearly 500 survivors.

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VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: May God bless the fallen, the injured and their precious families. And may God bless America.

MARTIN: NPR's Sarah McCammon is in Las Vegas, and she's been following the story for us. Hi, Sarah.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Hello.

MARTIN: So President Trump was there earlier in the week, and Vice President Pence is there now. Can you just tell us a little bit more about his visit?

MCCAMMON: Yeah. His visit caps off what's being called a unity prayer walk that was organized by religious leaders. He didn't walk in that, he's just here for a couple of hours, but it culminated here at the Las Vegas City Hall, where I am. Pence expressed his condolences on behalf of himself and President Trump, who he said had asked him to be there. He praised first responders and others who stepped in to help on Sunday night. And while this was organized by faith leaders, it was held at City Hall.

And, you know - or Vice President Pence used a lot of religious language, Michel, as he often does. That's a sort of natural language for him. He said, we mourn with those who mourn, which some people recognize from the Book of Romans. And he said, we are united in our resolve to end such evil in our time, then called for prayer, though he didn't go into any kind of specific policy ideas.

MARTIN: So how was his speech received?

MCCAMMON: Well, you know, he got applause, and it was a fairly full room. You know, it seemed to go over well. I do have to say that there was a Democratic congresswoman in the room who also did talk not specifically about anything like gun control, but she spoke shortly before the vice president and talked about the need to work together in a bipartisan way to end gun violence, and that also got a lot of applause. So it seemed to be a broad-based group. He was there, you know, with, again, a bipartisan group of local elected leaders.

MARTIN: So, you know, we've mentioned moments of tribute to the victims and the survivors throughout the week. What else are you seeing this weekend in Las Vegas? And to the degree that you can, just tell us how you think people are coping.

MCCAMMON: Well, to a large extent, life is going on. I mean, I was out last night on the Las Vegas Strip. There was heavy traffic, lots of people out on the sidewalks. You know, people are hanging out in casinos. But, you know, people are mourning still and will be for a while, I think. Last night, hundreds of people gathered to dedicate a new park that was built very quickly this week with donated materials and labor in honor of the victims. I talked to Karen Castle (ph), who lives here in Las Vegas. And she said she'd come to pay her respects.

KAREN CASTLE: My heart is so heavy. I can't even - I haven't watched the news for three days because of it, but I had to come out tonight.

MCCAMMON: Another woman said she was a little nervous to be out in a large crowd after what happened, but she said it was important to move on, and so people are.

MARTIN: So just very briefly, Sarah if you can, tomorrow will mark a week since the shooting. There's still no solid information about a motive. Are the police and the FBI saying anything about that?

MCCAMMON: They're still looking. They seem frustrated with the lack of information. And they're asking the public to help, to call in any information they might have.

MARTIN: That's NPR's Sarah McCammon talking to us from Las Vegas. Sarah, thank you.

MCCAMMON: Thanks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.