Baltimore Native Reflects on Vegas Tragedy

A makeshift memorial at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip on Monday commemorates the victims of the previous day’s mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival near Mandalay Bay. (Doug Kranz/Icon Sportswire)

Las Vegas resident Harvey Blankfeld described the last week’s incidents as “strange.”

“You never imagine something like this happening where you live,” Blankfeld said. “We know the venues. We’re watching on national news our city and the Strip showing just a horrific situation. This tragedy was just awful.”

Blankfeld, 57, a Baltimore native who lived in Owings Mills before moving to Las Vegas in 1993, was not at the Route 91 Harvest Festival Sunday, when a gunman firing from a 32nd-floor hotel window killed at least 58 people and injured more than 500 during country singer Jason Aldean’s performance. A colleague of his — he works in real estate — was shot at the concert, but survived and has been  released from the hospital.

“There’s like a numbness in the air,” Blankfled said of the city. “Everyone’s looking at each other like they don’t know what to say to each other.”

The way it happened still scares him.

“As we watch the video and see the replay of this thing, it could have been any event any one of us went to,” he said. “Who ever thought some maniac in a tall building would just start shooting at a group of people like that?”

Blankfeld said the city has responded well, from the effectiveness of the first responders to residents stepping up in a variety of ways.

“You’ve got lines at the blood bank in the valley. I tried to go, I couldn’t get near it. The traffic was ridiculous,” he said, adding that he’ll be making an appointment instead.

He said he was grateful to hear from so many friends and family from Baltimore who checked on him and his family.

“You think about something like this,” he said, “and you just want to hug everybody.”

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