In aftermath of Oct. 1 shooting, gun violence still raging in Las Vegas


Steve Marcus

Photos of Oct. 1 mass shooting victim Neysa Tonks is shown on a wooden cross in the median of Las Vegas Boulevard South near the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.

Since Oct. 1, the drumbeat of gun violence in Las Vegas has continued virtually nonstop.

There have been at least 28 shootings in the valley since the Route 91 Harvest festival massacre, according to Gun Violence Archive, which monitors media, law enforcement, government and commercial sources in an effort to track gun deaths and injuries.

As with the Oct. 1 shooting, what’s happened here since speaks to the extent of the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. Here are a few of the takeaways:

• Coverage of American gun violence in national and global media tends to focus largely on mass shootings, as was the case when news organizations rushed to Las Vegas and then to central Texas. So the shootings that have happened in Las Vegas over the last six weeks have drawn little, if any, coverage outside of local media, and generally not more than a few paragraphs or short broadcast news stories in those outlets. But the local shootings help illuminate what gun-safety advocates say is an alarming truth about gun violence: Yes, the number of mass shootings is increasing, but the undercurrent of daily gun violence is just as alarming.

• In Las Vegas, gun violence has nearly been a daily fact of life since Oct. 1. The city has averaged a shooting every 1.5 days, and someone has died from gunfire an average of every 2.4 days. Fourteen of those shootings were fatal, resulting in the deaths of a total of 17 people. Two of those fatal shootings came at the hands of police officers. Nationally, ninety-three Americans die from gun violence on an average day, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which also estimates that there have been 200 nonfatal firearm injuries each day over the past five years.

• A map of the shootings since Oct. 1 shows that although most of them occurred in the central and northern portions of the valley, violence is widespread. Most of the shootings since Oct. 1 have occurred north of 215 Beltway’s southern portion, but on Saturday one occurred at what was described as a quiet business area at Pyle Avenue and Pollock Drive. There, police shot and killed an armed man who, according to witnesses, had been choking a woman outside a convenience store. The woman suffered a nonfatal gunshot wound to the midsection.

Click to enlarge photo

A map showing the sites of Las Vegas shootings since Oct. 1 is shown in this screen shot.

• As was the case on Oct. 1, lives are being shattered by day-to-day gun violence in Las Vegas and across the nation. The victims included Hector Antonio Lemus-Flores, who was on his way to church for a predawn weekday service when he was shot, possibly in a robbery attempt. Lemus-Flores was described as a husband and father of two, and a devoted churchgoer. A congregation member gave CPR to Lemus-Flores, but he couldn’t be revived. His Bible was found near his body. Another victim, Carla Louise Boles, 38, was visiting a friend in her apartment when a man who told police he believed she was feeding information to law enforcement shot her once in the head with a .357 Magnum pistol. He then turned the gun on Boles’ friend, who was holding an infant and shielding her 4-year-old son, but didn’t fire.

Even before the Oct. 1 shooting, the number of homicides in Las Vegas this year was remaining stubbornly high after hitting a record level of 222 in 2016. Metro police say a rise in gun violence is contributing to the high homicide rate.

For those who are interested in joining efforts to curb the epidemic, ways to get involved can be found here.