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October 1st: One Year Later

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October 1st: One Year Later

by Andrew Ochoa, Features Editor

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For Las Vegas, the month of October is clouded in memories of tragedy. 58 killed, 851 injured, the gravity of the day weighs on each person in the city. Those who were present speak of a surreal horror. Those not, of a horrible anxiety for loved ones unaccounted for. A community stronger for its pain, looks back on a year of grief, compassion, and change.

Brandon Petrequin is a senior at Palo Verde. In 2017, working as a stand-by EMT for Community Ambulance, he and a small group were assigned to a first-aid hut at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Typical for music festivals, those on-duty were to assist fainting, dehydrated, or overly-intoxicated concert-goers.

Expecting drunks, the crew arrived at the beginning of the concert. Hours into Petrequin’s shift, a crackling echoed, then screaming, then running. Quick into the crowd, he grappled to understand if the source of the commotion was what it seemed. “My manager, who was with us at at the time, said this to us, ‘We were not the first responders, we were the responders.’ Because nobody was going to come into an active shooter situation. No one’s going to do that. So the people who were already in there, Metro and everyone there, were all the responders who were going to be there,” Petrequin said.

The medics brought back as many as could fit in the hut, bandaged them up with limited supplies there, and sent them to the nearest exit. This cycle repeated for hours. The crew’s duties varied between mending shrapnel damage, gunshot wounds, and trauma-induced cardiac arrests. Petrequin, a 16 year-old volunteer at the time, had seen almost none of these injuries in person before. “There was one person I’ll never forget who ended up not making it, was so strange to see. Some patients had gunshot wounds to the face or skull and they were still talking to us,” he said.

Today, Petrequin is an intern for AMR. He is a volunteer firefighter and lieutenant in Palo’s JROTC program. He rides in the back of ambulances that are now stocked with ballistic equipment. He drives past Las Vegas Village, the venue for the concert, everyday to his internship. “It’s weird think ‘Oh this happened right here.’ I saw this person bleed out here. It brings back bad memories, but it’s been easy-going with everybody’s support. Seeing everyone’s Vegas-strong. You know, when that happened we did all come together, it felt like everything stopped,” he said.

Between political debates that spark and flicker with current events, are people in need. Of understanding, resolution, and, ultimately, change. Brandon’s story, the many like it, demand attention. The road forward is paved with appreciation for the struggles of our past. In the time since, the people of Las Vegas have demonstrated an empathy needed in the years to come for the distressing many with our same pain.

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October 1st: One Year Later