A month after one of the country's deadliest mass shootings left 59 people dead and hundreds more injured, SLO County continues reaching out to local survivors.
According to the SLO County District Attorney's Victim Witness Assistance Center, the FBI identified 85 individuals from the SLO County area who survived the Oct. 1 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.
- Photo Copyright Hermann Luyken (via Creative Commons)
- ONE MONTH LATER Tens of thousands of Californians were present during a mass shooting in Las Vegas, including 85 individuals from the SLO County area.
Those victims could qualify for medical care, counseling, and other services though the California Victim Compensation Program, according to SLO County Victim Witness Assistance Center Director Diana McPartlan.
"If a person attended the concert and was present at the time of the shooting, they and their family members are eligible for our services," McPartlan said in an email response to questions from New Times. "So far we have assisted with mental health counseling, lost wages, and transportation."
However, it seems that few of the local survivors have sought help. As of Oct. 31, 11 of the 85 people eligible for compensation and services in SLO County have come forward.
"We are running some PSA's to get the word out about our services to the community," McPartlan wrote. "We anticipate receiving claims for quite some time."
The survivors from SLO County were just some of the thousands of Californians who attended the music festival and ended up in the crosshairs of 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who opened fire on the crowd of nearly 22,000 people from his 32nd-story suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino before killing himself. An estimated 14,000 people, roughly 63 percent of the concert's attendees, were from California, according to California Victim Compensation Board (CVCB).
Similar to SLO County, only a fraction of those eligible for victim services and benefits have come forward and applied for them. According to CVCB spokesman Chris Van Horne, the department had received 1,432 applications as of Oct. 31.
In an email to New Times, Van Horne indicated that victims were mostly seeking services for counseling and income loss, as well as help with medical bills, and in some cases, funeral expenses. More than half—34—of the 58 people killed by Paddock were California residents.
In anticipation of a large number of applications related to the Vegas shooting, CVCB officials said they are working closely with their counterparts in Nevada and have streamlined the application process for compensation and services for survivors, victims, and their families. Δ