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New Mexicans cope with loss after Las Vegas shooting

Stefan Dill
October 03, 2017 07:39 AM

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The deadliest mass shooting in modern American history has had a direct impact on many New Mexicans, who are still trying to come to terms with the event.

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At least 59 people, including one New Mexican, died when Las Vegas authorities said Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. More than 500 others were injured.

The shooting hit close to home for New Mexico. A Gallup woman was among those killed in the attack, and many other New Mexicans attended the concert.

Lisa Romero-Muniz, who worked at Miyamura High School, was among the slain victims. Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools confirmed Romero-Muniz served as a discipline secretary at the school.

Parents, students, and faculty are in disbelief.

"I know it's really hard because she was such a sweet person...it's going to be hard to realize she's not here," said one woman who knew her.

Friends, family, students and the Gallup community turned out for a vigil Monday night, mourning the loss of a woman they describe as the type of educator who treated her students as family.

"Heaven has gained another beautiful angel," said a tearful student. "God took you away too soon, but I guess only he knows why.  I'm not one to go up in front of a crowd and speak but I'm doing this for you.  You were such an amazing person, always caring for others."

KOB's Chris Ramirez is in Las Vegas learning more about the tragedy and its impact here at home. He spoke with Romero-Muniz's husband, who said  he still did not know where Lisa's body was and he has indicated that he will not leave Las Vegas until he can identify her body and take her back home to New Mexico.

Witnesses described the ordeal to KOB as heartbreaking.

"I was working backstage and my coworker and I thought we were hearing fireworks and then it hit us; that doesn't sound right," said Priscilla Olivas, who was working the event. "We started running and that is when we heard people screaming and yelling. It was horrible." 

On Tuesday morning, the area is still cordoned off behind a police line, with the Mandalay Bay hotel just a couple hundred yards behind it. This is still very much an active investigation, and a lot of work must be done behind that police line. 

A family assistance and reunification center opened in Clark County, Nevada to help family members identify victims. According to a release from Clark County officials, the assistance center will help families acquire information about their loved ones and give them an opportunity to pass information to the coroner's office for identification purposes.

They've set up a phone number for families to call at 1-800-536-9488. For more information, click here.

Chris Ramirez is in Las Vegas covering the shooting and how it is touching the lives of New Mexicans. If you know of New Mexicans who attended the music festival, contact cramirez@kob.com.

Credits

Stefan Dill

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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