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Las Vegas Concertgoers May Begin Reclaiming Objects Left Behind


Next we have the story of objects left behind, items abandoned as thousands of people fled a mass shooting in Las Vegas. Those objects form a record of the long minutes when the crowd at a concert realized they were under fire just over one week ago. NPR's Sarah McCammon is in Las Vegas. Hi, Sarah.


INSKEEP: What kind of objects are we talking about?

MCCAMMON: Any sort of object that someone might have taken to a concert, you know, purses, cellphones, articles of clothing. And there are a lot of these items, thousands. They say so far police have taken about seven truckloads of items to an assistance center the city has set up. They're sorting through them one section at a time, cataloging them, looking for ID.

INSKEEP: These are objects that in some cases must count as crime scene evidence, but they also must have a lot of meaning to the people coming to pick them up.

MCCAMMON: Right. I mean, imagine if you'd lost your driver's license or a cellphone that contained, you know, family photos. Police and the FBI have been working really hard to get these items cleaned up and ready to be returned.

INSKEEP: At the same time, they're investigating the crime. And I'd like to know, Sarah McCammon, now that some days have passed, are police still as certain as they once were that Stephen Paddock, the shooter, acted alone?

MCCAMMON: As far as they know, as far as they're telling us. They have seemed frustrated in recent days with the lack of a motive, and they've said they wonder, frankly, how he could have done it alone given the scale of the crime. But so far all indications are there's no specific evidence of an accomplice.

INSKEEP: But they're still looking for evidence. I gather there are billboards up around the city where you are, asking people for leads?

MCCAMMON: Right. Those went up late last week, just asking people - they said, if you know something, say something. They're reaching out to anybody who might know something about the shooter or anything else related to the crime that they could share with police.

INSKEEP: What else are you seeing as you move around the Las Vegas Strip?

MCCAMMON: You know, I went down to the - the scene last night, Steve, and it - nothing had changed too much over the last several days. Still there are, you know, people gathering and leaving mementos and candles. The windows of the Mandalay Bay hotel, where the shooting occurred, have been boarded up. There's still crime-scene tape. I met a woman named Marianne Crane from southern California. She said she and her 22-year-old daughter were there at the concert, survived the shooting uninjured, but - but a frightening experience. She told me she'd come back to retrieve her cellphone.

MARIANNE CRANE: I wanted to come back anyway because I just - I needed to come back to - to see 'cause, you know, I sit at home and it's like I can almost pretend that it was a bad dream, but then I get here and I go, oh, yeah, it really happened.

MCCAMMON: So that - that was Marianne Crane. She - she said the whole incident had brought her family closer together but they still have a lot of recovery to do, and she says the world feels really different than it did one week ago.

INSKEEP: The sign of the power of those little objects that people come to get. NPR's Sarah McCammon in Las Vegas, thanks very much.

MCCAMMON: Thanks, Steve. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.
Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.
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