As part of increased security measures in response to the deadliest mass shooting in American history in Las Vegas on Oct. 2, the Pasadena Police Department deployed bomb-sniffing dogs and a magnetometer sensor, or x-ray wands, to scan for weapons and explosives on the 60,000 people who entered the Rose Bowl to watch Coldplay in concert on Oct. 6.
Meanwhile, the attack has left leaders around the country once again questioning what can be done to stop mass shootings.
“Going forward, every community has to be vigilant when it comes to this type of violence,” said Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez. Sanchez said increased security could be used at more public events in Pasadena, such as the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day.
“Every local, state and federal law enforcement official has to do their part,” Sanchez said. “And the public has to be involved. It goes back again to if you see something, say something.”
Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 were injured after gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Authorities have said the 64-year-old Paddock committed suicide before police burst into his room. Authorities recovered 23 firearms from that room and later discovered bomb-making materials in his car and 19 additional weapons in his home. However, the motive for the shooting remains unknown as the case remains under investigation. Paddock was a millionaire who spent much time traveling between Las Vegas and his home in Mesquite, Nevada, 82 miles north of Las Vegas.
Paddock had set up cameras inside and outside of his hotel room to monitor the hallway. An additional gun was set up at a second window in his suite.
Pasadena attorney Brian Claypool took shelter from the hail of bullets with 15 to 20 other people underneath bleachers set up for the three-day Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival being staged there. Claypool said his first reaction was to keep running after the shooting started, but he was directed to safety by a Good Samaritan. Once inside, he said he saw several ladies on their knees crying. Claypool said he instinctually stood in front of the ladies to protect them.
“I am going through some guilt now,” Claypool told CNN. “Did I help enough people? Everybody was screaming. They didn’t know what to do. We thought there could have been one, two, three shooters.”
Claypool said initially no one knew where the shooter was. The incident renewed calls for gun control, but GOP members in Congress are still refusing to have a conversation about that sensitive issue.
Eagle Rock resident Michelle Vo, 32, who worked at New York Life’s Pasadena office, was also killed in the incident. According to the Los Angeles Times, Vo was attending her first country music concert.
“Our grief is deepened by knowing that a member of the New York Life family, Michelle Vo, an agent in our greater Pasadena office, was among those killed,” said a New York Life spokesperson.
Six local firefighters attended the event, according to Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian. None of them were injured in the attack, Derderian said.
Several police officers and firefighters from other jurisdictions were injured in the attack. Among those wounded were a Los Angeles police officer and two Los Angeles firefighters. One Orange County sheriff’s deputy was severely wounded by gunshots to the abdomen and thigh. The wives of two deputies were also wounded.
There have been no reports that the shooter was attempting to harm law enforcement officers or their families.
The shooting prompted extra security at weekend events around the country, including the Coldplay concert in the Rose Bowl, the Chicago Marathon, and events in Texas and New York.
Paddock also booked rooms overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago in August, the Life Is Beautiful reggae show near the Vegas Strip in late September, and Boston’s Fenway Park.
President Donald Trump would not discuss the prospect of gun control with reporters after the shooting.
“He’s a sick man, a demented man. A lot of problems, I guess,” President Trump said soon after the shooting.
While calling prayer appropriate, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said that is not enough. Steps must be taken to save lives, said the veteran lawmaker.
“The simple fact is that rote expressions of sadness or regret following mass shootings and the daily tide of gun violence in our nation does nothing to save the life of the next American to be cut down by this plague,” Schiff wrote on his Facebook page. “But we are not powerless to do something about the epidemic of mass shootings. Yes, we cannot stop them all, but we can prevent some of them, and those we cannot prevent, we can make less lethal. The fact that no single solution will stop every single attack is not a reason to do nothing.”
Schiff called for improvements in mental health treatment, a crackdown on online terrorist recruitment and common sense guns laws that would lead to the reenactment of the assault weapons ban, and limit the number of bullets in ammunition clips.
Twelve of the rifles Paddock used in his killing spree were outfitted with “bump stock,” devices which allow a semiautomatic rifle to operate much like an automatic weapon and fire hundreds of rounds per minute, which may explain the high volume of shots coming from Paddock’s hotel room and the high number of casualties.
“Common sense is banning accessories that make a gun a weapon of mass destruction,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Pasadena).
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has ruled that bump stocks do not violate any laws. Lawmakers immediately called for a ban of the device after the shooting and leaders in National Rifle Association (NRA) said the group supported banning the device.
Democrats have introduced legislation that would ban possession and sale of bump stocks.
The bureau should revisit the issue and “immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law,” NRA officials said in a statement released Thursday. “The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, would not discuss gun control or any legislation aimed at firearms, including a bill authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein which would ban the conversion of semi-automatic weapons to automatic weapons, much like the ones Paddock used.
“The investigation has not been completed,” McConnell said. “I think it’s premature to be discussing legislative solutions, if there are any.”
Feinstein’s daughter Katherine canceled plans to attend the show with her daughter and her neighbors.
Feinstein has long been a proponent of gun control.
Feinstein was the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in November of 1978 when former Supervisor Dan White assassinated Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. Feinstein found Milk’s body. Feinstein was later named Moscone’s successor.
“Individuals are able to purchase bump fire stocks for less than $200 and easily convert a semi-automatic weapon into a firearm that can shoot between 400 and 800 rounds per minute and inflict absolute carnage,” said Feinstein.