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Route 91 security guard visits Healing Garden every week: 'I try to learn every single story there is'

Searching for peace
Searching for peace
Searching for peace
Searching for peace
Searching for peace
Reading of the Names
Posted at 9:07 PM, Oct 01, 2022

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There were nearly 22,000 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on October 1, 2017. Fifty-eight people died that night, and another two ultimately did not survive their injuries.

The number of people impacted compounds when you count the families and complete strangers who were touched by this atrocity.

Five years later, Joseph Gerrans comes to the Community Healing Garden, looking for the peace and healing that's never come for him.

"All I know is that 58 lives were killed that night, beautiful lives taken in their prime," Gerrans said.

If you close your eyes and listen, you'll hear the whispers of those who once walked this Earth, in the wind chimes, pictures, and faces that line the garden.

Searching for peace
Five years after the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, Joseph Gerrans is still searching for peace. He visits the Community Healing Garden every week, determined that the 58 lives lost on October 1, 2017 will never be forgotten.

"You can still hear their voices, like 'Hey, Joe, how's it going?'" Gerrans said. "Every face has a story."

And every grave marker offers a small, personalized glimpse into who the 58 were.

"I come here twice a week," Gerrans said. "I talk to them. Call it strange, call it different, but it's what I do. ...I try to learn every single story there is."

Gerrans is a survivor who worked security at the festival. When the shots rang out that horrific night, he was at stage right, speaking with another officer. Both quickly knew it was bullets lighting up the sky — not fireworks.

"I think I brought out about a dozen (people), and then I brought a lady out that was deceased," he recalled, "because that's somebody's mom, and I didn't want her to die in the dirt."

Searching for peace
Five years after the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, Joseph Gerrans is still searching for peace. He visits the Community Healing Garden every week, determined that the 58 lives lost on October 1, 2017 will never be forgotten.

You might call him a hero, but Gerrans denies he did anything heroic that night.

"I don't call it saving, I call it helping them out of the venue," he said. "I know I can't control what happened, but being security, you always have it in the back of your head: 'Could I have done more that night? Did I do enough that night?' And that's always there."

It was a night that still keeps the living awake, and the departed alive in our memories.

"You don't cope. You re-live it," Gerrans said. "I see that venue probably twice a week, and you're always looking at it, it's always there. Mandalay Bay is always there. It's hard to pass by it, you're always trying not to look at it. It's got so many bad memories."

For Gerrans, the 58-plus-two who lost their lives that night are now part of his routine and mission to keep their names alive.

"They're no longer here, but they have a story, and that story should be remembered," he said. "No matter where you are October 1st, remember them."

Searching for peace
Five years after the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, Joseph Gerrans is still searching for peace. He visits the Community Healing Garden every week, determined that the 58 lives lost on October 1, 2017 will never be forgotten.