Gunshots and cries for help echoed throughout the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night as a result of a mass shooting that left at least 58 people dead and more than 500 injured, before coming to an end with the death of the shooter on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
One of those injured was SSU student Paige Gasper, according to a Facebook post from Gasper’s mother. Jenna Gasper said on Monday that her daughter was “safe and stable in a hospital.” Gasper, a Folsom resident, is a senior in psychology.
According to KPIX San Francisco, Gasper is recovering from a liver laceration and fractured ribs caused by a bullet wound. Her mother told KPIX that she was shot on the right side of her body while country singer Jason Aldean was still performing. She was with six of her friends at the time.
Monique Menard, another SSU student and a friend of Gasper’s who attended the concert with her, was uninjured.
A 27-year-old Rohnert Park woman was shot in the ankle and was being treated for her wounds, according to The Press Democrat.
Videos taken by concert attendees show Aldean’s performance interrupted by what appears to be automatic gunfire and the panic that ensued. The initial 10-second continuous burst of gunfire sent concertgoers ducking for safety, followed by more shots. The gunman, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, reportedlycommitted suicide before police found him inside his Mandalay Bay hotel room around midnight.
In a press conference Monday, President Donald Trump called the event “an act of pure evil.” According to Trump the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. are working closely to investigate the shooting, but motives behind the gunman’s actions are still unclear.
As local authorities and SWAT members searched the hotel, families and friends scrambled to connect with their loved ones, according to Sonoma State students who were there..
“Our friend was [staying] at Mandalay Bay, and at that concert, but he left before so he was already in his hotel room,” said fourth-year Sonoma State student Corey Handa. “It was sheer panic throughout the entire hotel.”
Handa, a wine business major and secretary of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, was in Las Vegas with friends attending a Saturday concert at Caesar’s Palace.
The university didn’t release the name of the injured student in a press release sent to all faculty and staff on Monday afternoon.
“One SSU student was injured, but thankfully she is recovering and in stable condition,” Sonoma State President Judy K. Sakaki said. “Our hearts go out to her, as well as her family and friends.”
Both Sakaki and Associated Students President Wilson Hall released statements regarding the tragedy.
“I know I can count on all Seawolves to be supportive and caring of everyone impacted by this horrific act,” Hall said, “and to be as compassionate as possible to our fellow Seawolves who were present or injured.”
“Tragedies like these are so unsettling and difficult to comprehend,” Sakaki said. “They hit us all emotionally and can undermine everyone’s sense of safety and well-being.”
She encouraged students and faculty to “make sure we are there for each other in a spirit of empathy and understanding.” She also encouraged anyone who feels they may be in need of additional support to contact the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office, located in Stevenson 1088. The office can be reached at 707-664-2153.