On Saturday, the CiCi’s Pizza at 309 N. Nellis Blvd. was a strip mall pizzeria like any other.
By Monday night, it was something else — part crime scene and part memorial, the site of a shooting spree that left five dead Sunday morning and the location of a candlelight vigil for two fallen Las Vegas police officers.
Caution tape used to mark the day-old crime scene was reused to cordon off the area around a soundstage crowded with more than 100 residents and police who attended the sometimes tearful tribute to officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo. Their deaths prompted Gov. Brian Sandoval to order flags at public buildings to be flown at half-staff.
An invocation from East Vegas Christian Center pastor Troy Martinez offered a public call for solidarity with the Metropolitan Police Department and a rousing message of “hope, healing and comfort” to the families of the slain officers.
Martinez didn’t try to make sense of the killings.
“All it takes for evil to prevail in this world is for good people to stand by and do nothing,” he said. “There are always going to be people who hold opinions contrary to the laws of the land, but when they cross over into violence, that’s unacceptable.”
Longtime area resident Charles Dunn, a security guard at a nearby casino, didn’t hear about the Sunday killing spree until late Monday afternoon.
“It’s just senseless, totally senseless,” Dunn said. “How could someone go in and kill someone else on their lunch break? … We need to stop fighting one another, because there are kids going to bed tonight without a father and, to me, it just doesn’t make any sense.”
Rossana and Maria Hernandez, both visiting from Los Angeles, learned about the shooting as they peered through CiCi’s windows around lunchtime Monday. TVs suspended above the restaurant’s empty dining tables showed file photos of the two police officers killed there the day before.
“That’s just horrible,” Rossana Hernandez said. “We love this place; we come here all the time when we visit.”
She sounded shaken by reports of the suspected shooters’ political statements before and during the attack and said something had to be done about a spate of recent shootings around the country.
“It’s scary, especially here where we bring our kids. I know it could happen anywhere, and I know it’s a problem, but someone has to do something about it, because everyone is allowed to get their hands on (a gun).”
Earlier in the day, just left of the pizzeria’s front door, news crews gathered around a knee-high memorial of flower bouquets, candles and cards honoring the dead Las Vegas police officers.
One card applauded the officers for their service to the city. Another thanked them for living their lives for the safety of others.
Across the parking lot, a half-dozen police huddled in the shade, shaking hands with grateful residents filing in and out of a nearby frozen yogurt shop.
Metro Officer Karl Huysentruyt said he’d seen dozens stop by the crime scene Monday morning.
“Guys are just coming by to get closure,” Huysentruyt said. “We’re not worried about another incident; we’re just here to pay our respects and keep an eye on things.
“Everyone has been real nice, real respectable. … Everybody’s come up and said they appreciate what we do.”
Metro officers report CiCi’s officials don’t plan to reopen until this afternoon.
The Wal-Mart on the other side of Stewart Avenue, where the shooters fled and then killed a man before carrying out an apparent suicide pact, also remained closed a day after the attack.
The Wal-Mart shopping center security officials who were stationed along a makeshift perimeter of upturned shopping carts and caution tape said customers could remove their vehicles from the still-shuttered parking lot.
The store reopened about 6:30 p.m.
Contact James DeHaven at email@example.com or 702-477-3839. Find him on Twitter @JamesDeHaven.