LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has been a part of the Southern Nevada community for many years, including leading the city during the tragic mass shooting in October 2017.
"I can feel it like it was last week. You don't forget it," Goodman said.
Fifty-eight people died on Oct. 1, 2017, when a man opened fire on the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on the Las Vegas Strip.
Mayor Goodman was at the University Medical Center comforting patients and their families that evening while trying to get her head around what had just happened.
"And so we just… the magnitude, and then the information coming out. It was just...," Goodman said.
Three years later, the mayor showed 13 Action News a new commemorative book chronicling the Healing Garden that became the focus of the community to remember the victims and to deal with the senselessness of the tragedy.
"The response of the community. There's a need to feel. You want it, touch something, feel something," Goodman said. "This is tragic but out of it came the healing garden. Four hundred people, four days straight - just building this wonderful place of peace and serenity. And the people and the faces."
And the Healing Garden is expanding to include a storytelling garden for families to share more about their loved ones.
"The garden came out of the love, the touch, the adoration of this community, and wanting to be a part of it. And it's still very active, very much a center of all this still today," Goodman said.
Three years hasn’t extinguished the remembrances, but it’s enough time that 2020 has made Las Vegas a profoundly different place than 2017. 13 Action News asked the mayor if lessons learned from 2017 had prepared Vegas any better for the coronavirus.
"During the pandemic, there have been racial issues and people showing angst and anger. I think of Las Vegas because it has been recognized again and again for being one of the most diverse cities. We're a family," Goodman said.
The mayor also told 13 Action News that she hopes people would respond to any crisis with love and respect.
"That's it. No speeches, no politics. Just the reverence and to make people know that they're cherished individuals and that they will always be cherished," Goodman said. "We love each other. We respect each other. We work together and we come together for the common good."