MGM Resorts Donating Land to Build Memorial for Victims of Las Vegas Concert Shooting

MGM Resorts International is donating two acres of land just off the Las Vegas Strip to build a memorial honoring the 58 people killed in the mass concert shooting on October 1, 2017, the Associated Press reported. MGM owns Mandalay Bay, where the shooter used his 32nd floor room to gather an arsenal of weapons and fire on the open-air crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

The permanent memorial is planned to be built near a church where people gathered for shelter and medical aid amid the shooting. Tennille Pereira, chairwoman of a Clark County committee working on plans for the memorial, said that the finished memorial could be dedicated on the fifth anniversary of the shooting next year, AP reported.

MGM's donation comes just as the company and insurers are almost done paying $800 million in settlements to over 4,000 claimants in an effort to bypass negligence trials. Robert Eglet, a Las Vegas attorney who organized the settlement, said it was the "right thing for MGM to do."

"It's good for the community and the victims that the case is resolved," Eglet said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Las Vegas Shooting Memorial
MGM Resorts International is donating two acres of land for a memorial honoring victims of the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. Above, people pray on October 1, 2019, at a makeshift memorial for shooting victims in Las Vegas on the second anniversary of the mass shooting. John Locher/AP Photo

People who are healing and some still struggling gathered Friday to remember those who died and were injured during the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history four years ago on the Las Vegas Strip.

"I was wounded. Those physical wounds have healed," said Dee Ann Hyatt, whose daughter also was wounded and whose brother died in the October 1, 2017, shooting. "But the lasting scars for our family remain."

Hyatt spoke to several hundred people during a sunrise ceremony at the Clark County Government Center in Las Vegas.

She remembered her slain brother, Kurt von Tillow, a trucker from Northern California, before a screen at an outdoor amphitheater that displayed photos of the dead. Fifty-eight people were killed that night, and two others died later. More than 850 were injured.

"We continue to live the impact of all that happened that night, four years later," Hyatt said. "People thrive and people struggle to live with the physical and mental pain, and our lives are forever changed."

The morning memorial featured a song, "Four Years After," sung by Matt Sky, that was composed for the anniversary by Mark R. Johnson and released with multi-Grammy award winner Alan Parsons.

The event was the first of several scheduled Friday in Las Vegas and elsewhere, including a livestream to California's Ventura County hosted by a support group called "So Cal Route 91 Heals." The group also planned an afternoon ceremony at a park in Thousand Oaks.

Pereira, also the director of the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center, a Las Vegas program set up to support those affected by the shooting, noted that about 60 percent of tickets sold to the fateful concert were purchased by California residents.

The names of the dead will be read beginning at 10:05 p.m., the time the shooting started, at a downtown Las Vegas Community Healing Garden.

Jill Winter of Nashville, Tennessee, remembers the nearly 10-minute barrage of rapid-fire gunshots into the open-air concert crowd.

Like many around her, Winter thought at first it was fireworks. Then, people fell dead and wounded. Winter ducked for cover until police SWAT officers arrived and told her to run. She remembers yelling, "Make him stop! Make him stop!"

Winter, now 49, counsels others she calls "the Router family" who experienced the deadly night at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. "Router" sounds better than "survivor," she said.

"There is a lot of healing taking place," she said in a telephone interview this week. "There are 22,000 of us that were there. That doesn't even include other people that were impacted...first responders, hospital employees, average citizens who were driving down the Strip. All those people and all those different stories."

The gunman, Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old retired postal service worker, accountant and real estate investor who became a high-stakes casino video poker player, killed himself before police reached him. Local and federal investigators concluded that he meticulously planned the attack and appeared to seek notoriety, but they said they could not identify a clear motive.

Authorities including police, elected and government officials and people involved with the resiliency center refuse now to use his name.

Pereira said this week that she felt a softening of emotions around the anniversary.

"Where the community is is different. Maybe it's because we just came out of this [coronavirus] pandemic and we're starting to feel a regular pace again," Pereira said.

"We still remember, we still respect, we still honor. But it's not raw like it was, and jarring. It just feels more hopeful and peaceful."

This was the first year since the shooting that Winter wasn't in Las Vegas to mark the anniversary. She said she would gather Friday with other "Routers" at a friend's restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee.

"It's always emotional. But it's also really heartwarming," she said. "The fact that we've come together and not let evil win is so amazing."

Hyatt, speaking at the memorial, said four years have taught her that some things can't be fixed.

"All you can do is be there for each other," she said. "Listen, cry, hug, love and support one another. You just need to be patient and loving and caring to everyone you meet, because you don't know what they're going through."

Mandalay Bay Shooting Anniversary
On the fourth anniversary of the deadly shooting at a Las Vegas concert, the names of all 58 people who were killed will be read in a downtown Las Vegas Community Healing Garden. Above, windows are broken at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in the room from where Stephen Craig Paddock fired on a nearby music festival, killed 58 and injuring hundreds on October 1, 2017. John Locher/AP Photo