PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — A former Tigard woman was among the victims of Sunday night’s shooting in Las Vegas.
The Washington Post and other media outlets reported that Dorene (Johnston) Anderson of Anchorage was killed during the sniper shooting that ravaged the Route 91 Harvest country music festival at Las Vegas Village. Anderson was a student at Tigard High School before she moved in 1985. She was at the concert with her husband and daughters when a gunman fired hundreds of shots from a 32nd-floor window at the Mandalay Bay resort just a couple blocks from the outdoor concert.
Las Vegas Metro Police have not officially released the victims’ names. Media outlets, including The Washington Post, published small profiles of some of the victims whose families provided names and information.
Monday evening, a few dozen people gathered at a candlelight vigil near the Portland Art Museum to honor victims of Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting.
Leaders with Don’t Shoot Portland organized the South Park Blocks silent vigil to remember the 59 people killed by a Nevada man who fired an automatic weapon for more than 15 minutes from a hotel room at the outdoor concert.
Shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday, Doug Ecklund and his wife Darise had moved to the back of Las Vegas Village’s outdoor concert area and were waiting for one more song as the daylong country music concert wound down. They planned to leave after that next song.
Then the pop-pop-pop-pop of rapid gunfire echoed through the open-air venue along South Las Vegas Boulevard, and Doug knew something wasn’t right.
“It kind of sounded like firecrackers, and I thought, ‘That doesn’t sound right,’ ” Ecklund said Monday afternoon, hours after escaping from the shooting at the Las Vegas event that injured 516 people.
As they realized what was happening, Ecklund and his wife lay on the ground and waited. They were far from the front of the stage, near the east end of the concert area and hoped to get out through a nearby gate.
“We were laying down for a good four or five minutes,” Ecklund said. “We didn’t know if there was just one shooter or there were others. It sounded like it was coming from all over. It was just nonstop.”
They quickly moved to a side of the venue where vendors had tents, and, with the help of several others, pushed a gate partly open, stood on a vendor’s freezer and helped dozens of people climb out. After about 200 people escapced, Ecklund said he and his wife climbed out and ran behind a semi-truck, where they hid with a paramedic while gunshots continued.
‘A crazed lunatic’
The Ecklunds were among more than 22,000 people who were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival Sunday, Oct. 1, when Las Vegas Metro Police say 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, began firing an automatic weapon from windows of his 32nd-floor room of the Mandalay Bay resort, just a few blocks away. The shooting started at about 10:08 p.m. and continued for several minutes.
By the time police broke into Paddock’s hotel room, the Las Vegas Village had become a “war zone,” Ecklund said. “We saw probably 10 shooting victims. I knew with the amount of shots that were fired that it was going to be horrible. I felt like it never really stopped. It was just horrible, horrible. The look of fear on people’s faces was just horrible.”
Police said Paddock was dead when SWAT officers broke into the hotel room. They have not uncovered a motive for the shooting. FBI agents involved in the investigation reported Monday morning that Paddock did not have any apparent connections to terrorist groups.
Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters that Las Vegas Village would be closed for at least 12 hours as the investigation and body recovery continued through the day and into the evening. Lombardo said Paddock used “a device similar to a hammer” to smash hotel windows before shooting.
Several guns and ammunition were found in the hotel room, Lombardo said.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman called Paddock “a crazed lunatic full of hate.”
The 47-year-old Ecklund and his wife are from Highland, California, and have family in the Portland area. They received free tickets to the three-day event and were only able to attend Sunday’s concerts.
By Monday afternoon, they decided to go to their hotel pool to relax. “We said we’re not going to let this guy dictate how we live,” Ecklund said.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he said. “It was awful. We felt guilty that we couldn’t help more people.”
The Portland Tribune is KOIN media partner