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‘It’s not easy but we do our best’: Oct. 1 shooting remembered

Updated October 1, 2023 - 5:51 pm

As the sun rose over Las Vegas on Sunday, they gathered to remember the loved ones they lost six years ago.

Jauquetta Kron, 38, was here from Reno to remember her aunt Jennifer Irvine, 42, who was an attorney based in San Diego.

Steve and Julie Gomez spoke about their daughter Angela, 20, whose goal was to work as a registered nurse at a children’s hospital. She got her first job at a recovery hospital the week before the concert.

“She worked there for four days,” Steve Gomez told the audience at Sunday’s Sunrise Remembrance ceremony, which marked the sixth anniversary of the Oct. 1, 2017, Route 91 Harvest music festival mass shooting. “Unfortunately she never got to see her first check.”

Alan McIldoon was down from Canada to remember his son Jordan, 23, who with his family would visit Las Vegas every year for NASCAR weekend.

Angelica Cervantes remembered her son Erick Silva, a 21-year-old security guard at the concert who helped others to safety before he was shot and killed.

They were among the hundreds of people, including loved ones and friends of those killed, survivors, law enforcement, first responders, elected officials and community members who came out to the 7:30 a.m. ceremony at the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater, near Interstate 15 and East Charleston Boulevard.

Fifty-eight people died immediately after the shooting, which was perpetrated by Stephen Paddock from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay, which overlooked the festival site. After opening fire on the concert, Paddock shot and killed himself.

Another two people have died of their injuries since the shooting, bringing the official death toll to 60.

The community of survivors and relatives spoke of forging relationships and leaning on each other for support in the years since then as they keep the memories of their slain loved ones alive.

“We do believe that you all agree with us that what happened on this day changed the lives of many people, including ours,” said Steve Gomez about Angela, whom he described as “our daughter, our baby girl, my angel.

“We became members of a club that we didn’t volunteer for,” Gomez said.

“We don’t want to forget him,” said McIldoon, who lives in Penticton, British Columbia, about his son Jordan. Asked how he and his family are doing six years later, McIldoon said “as best as we can.

“We keep going forward every day,” McIldoon said. “It’s not easy but we do our best.”

Kron said she’s looking forward to the completion of the Forever One Memorial, which was unanimously approved by the Clark County Commission last month and will be built on a 2-acre lot at Reno Avenue and Giles Street, close to the shooting site.

“I think it’s going to be beautiful,” Kron said.

Angelica Cervantes said she talks about her son every day. She and her daughter Chantal Cervantes, 22, were wearing T-shirts with the words “Our Hero Forever” above Erick Silva’s picture. Chantal’s 2-month-old son Dylan wore the same but on a onesie.

Gov. Joe Lombardo also spoke, as did Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill and Clark County Commission Chairman Jim Gibson.

“This is always an emotional day for all of us, for the family members who lost loves ones, for the thousands of survivors, for the first responders, and for our entire community,” McMahill told the audience.

“As each year goes by, it doesn’t get easier to grieve the lives we lost,” Lombardo said. “While it doesn’t get any easier, we can take solace in the continual strength and resiliency of the Vegas Strong community.”

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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