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Knights update ‘Vegas Strong’ banner to honor additional shooting victims

Updated March 5, 2021 - 8:43 am

The “Vegas Strong” banner that hangs at T-Mobile Arena to memorialize the victims of the Route 91 Harvest festival mass shooting has been updated to reflect the official death toll from the outdoor concert massacre.

The Golden Knights organization said in a statement Thursday that the names of Kimberly Gervais and Samanta Arjune were added to the banner along with two stars, increasing the number of individuals honored from 58 to 60. Gervais and Arjune died years after being shot at the outdoor music festival.

No ceremony is planned for the banner, which was on display in the rafters during the recently completed two-game series against the Minnesota Wild. The banner is one of the valley’s most prominent tributes to the shooting victims.

A replica banner at City National Arena also has been updated with 60 names and stars to recognize the victims and is in the process of being hung.

The Oct. 1, 2017, shooting on the Strip was the deadliest in modern American history, with 58 people killed initially and hundreds more injured.

The Review-Journal broke the stories about the delayed deaths of Gervais and Arjune being ruled homicides. However, the Metropolitan Police Department declined for months to revise the shooting’s official death toll from 58 to 60. A September report by the Review-Journal examined the effects of the decision to exclude the two women from the official list of victims.

After the story was published, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo announced at the annual 1 October Sunrise Remembrance ceremony, on the third anniversary of the shooting, that the death toll would increase to 60. Lombardo also acknowledged his department’s “failure” to include Gervais and Arjune.

“The lives of Kimberly, Samanta and all the victims from that tragic night will forever be with us in our hearts. Their light continues to shine bright,” the Knights organization said in a statement.

The original black-and-gold “Vegas Strong” banner was raised during an emotional pregame ceremony March 31, 2018. Players from the Knights and San Jose Sharks stood in silence on the blue line and were joined on the ice by Knights majority owner Bill Foley, president of hockey operations George McPhee and the family of shooting victim Neysa Tonks.

The number 58 also was retired during the ceremony and will remain unused, according to the organization.

“When the original banner was raised to the rafters at the end of the 2017-18 regular season, we made the decision that the number 58 would never be worn by a player in our organization,” the Knights said in the statement. “This will still be the case as we move forward, and we do not plan on removing other numbers from selection at this time. We will, however, continue to update the banner itself if appropriate.”

Gervais, of Mira Loma, California, died Nov. 15, 2019, and the coroner’s division of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department ruled in August that her death was a homicide. It was the first known delayed death of a Route 91 survivor as a result of injuries from the shooting.

Gervais, 57, was paralyzed below the neck and was in and out of hospitals following the massacre until her death, according to her oldest daughter, Amber Manka.

Arjune, 49, was the 60th known victim of the shooting and died May 26. The Clark County coroner’s office ruled in September that the Las Vegas resident died from complications of the gunshot wound to her left leg that she suffered at the concert.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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