The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is also rushing crisis-trained chaplains to Las Vegas to bring Christ’s love to the terrible situation
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (ANS — October 2, 2017) – When Cathi Parrish, the K-Wave Las Vegas 98.1 morning host began her early shift today, she knew she had to bring words of encouragement to the survivors of last night terrible mass killing after a 64-year-old man on Sunday night rained down gunfire on a Las Vegas country music festival killing at least 58 people, injuring at least 515 others, before killing himself.
The barrage from a 32nd-floor window in the Mandalay Bay Hotel into a crowd across the street of 22,000 people attending the outdoor Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, lasted several minutes, causing panic. Some fleeing fans trampled each other as police scrambled to find the gunman.
“Police identified the gunman as Stephen Paddock, who lived in a retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada, and said they had no sense of what prompted his attack. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the massacre, but U.S. officials expressed skepticism of that claim,” said Reuters in a story.
“The preliminary death toll, which officials warned could rise further, eclipsed last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando night club by a gunman who pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants.”
When Cathi Parrish first arrived at the studio for her remote to Las Vegas and went on air from the station’s studio in Santa Ana, California, she told listeners, “Once again, we have a heavy heart as we think about how the more than 50 people who have lost their lives and more than 400 people injured in the mass shooting that began outside the Mandalay Bay at a country music festival last night.
“It was a horrific situation that leaves us all without words, except to say that we ask you join us in prayer for everyone affected — those families of the ones killed and the ones injured. Can’t imagine the horror that so many are experiencing at this time.”
As more information came in about the massacre, Cathi went on to say, “President Trump has sent ‘condolences and sympathies’ to the victims of what is now called the worst mass shooting in American history… We mourn the loss of at least 50 people who were killed and are prayerful for the more than 400 people wounded in Las Vegas.
“The hospitals (as you can imagine) are quite busy attending to the victims. We ask not only for prayer for the families of the victims lost, but prayer for the victims who are injured, and prayer for the medical staff members who are working so hard to save lives after this monstrous, evil act. United Blood Services has announced that they will be holding blood drives for the victims at 9:00 a.m. at 901 Rancho Lane. Visit Blood Hero dot com (https://bloodhero.com/) to find out about other any other blood drives. We are united in prayer for all.”
At the end of her shift, Cathi told me, “Quite honestly Dan, I struggled with more words of encouragement, but only God knows the reason things happen as they do. Las Vegas is an international city… We only hope and pray that out this heinous event, God will use it to touch and strengthen people (not only here but all over the world).”
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployed to Las Vegas
Meanwhile, The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has deployed crisis-trained chaplains to Las Vegas following the horrific mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.
“We mourn for the families that lost loved ones, especially in such an evil and violent manner. We grieve for the survivors who will carry the emotional and physical scars the rest of their lives. The terror that took place last night in Las Vegas will forever be etched in the minds of those who were present,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “We will be there to talk with and pray with the hurting, offering the hope and comfort of Jesus Christ in these dark days.”
Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, posted to his Facebook page: “This morning we awoke to the tragic news that at least 50 people were killed and over 200 wounded last night in a mass shooting at a Las Vegas outdoor concert. Please join me in praying for the families of those killed and for all the injured.”
An initial group of chaplains will arrive today and tomorrow to minister at memorial sites. Additional chaplains will be on stand-by to respond as warranted.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has a long history of offering hope and comfort following shootings and terror attacks both domestically and internationally. Thus far in 2017, the ministry has dispatched chaplains in response to terror attacks in Quebec, Canada; London, England (March and June); Manchester, England; and Barcelona, Spain. In 2016, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team brought hope following terror attacks in Belgium, France and Germany (Munich in July and Berlin in December).
In June of 2016, 40 crisis-trained chaplains prayed with and comforted more than 1,600 mourners in Orlando, Fla., following the attack at the Pulse night club. The organization has also responded to mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., (2016); Umpqua Community College in Oregon (2016); Newtown, Conn., (2012); Aurora, Colo., (2012); Northern Illinois University (2008) and Virginia Tech University (2007), among others.
Gunman’s brother speaks out
Stephen Paddock, the man police say killed at least 58 people on the Las Vegas Strip, was a retired accountant who enjoyed playing $100-a-hand poker, his brother says.
Eric Paddock told CNN on Monday his brother had worked as an accountant and had plenty of money.
“He was a wealthy guy playing video poker… on cruises,” he said, adding that his brother could afford anything he wanted and played $100-a-hand poker.
Their father, a well-known bank robber and at one point was on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list, died a few years ago.
Stephen Paddock had been married in the past and lived with his girlfriend, Eric Paddock said, but he didn’t know of any children.
Stephen last communicated with his brother via a text, asking Eric about their mother, who’d lost power during Hurricane Irma. Eric also said Stephen spoke to his mother on the phone a week or two ago.
He has no idea why his brother would kill anybody. The family found out about the shooting at 1 a.m., when police called.
“He was my brother and it’s like an asteroid fell out of the sky,” Eric Paddock said.
Motive not known
Media reports stated that Police said they had no information about Paddock’s motive, that he had no criminal record and was not believed to be connected to any militant group. Paddock killed himself before police entered the hotel room he was firing from, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.
“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said.
Federal officials said there was no evidence to link Paddock to international militant groups.
“As this event unfolds, we have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group,” FBI special agent in charge Aaron Rouse told reporters.
One U.S. official discounted a claim of responsibility that was made by Islamic State. There was reason to believe that Paddock had a history of psychological problems, the official said.
In its claim, Islamic State said the gunman was a recent convert, according to the group’s news agency Amaq. Its claim did not include the gunman’s name and showed no proof. In the past, the group has also claimed responsibility for attacks without providing evidence.
Lombardo said there were more than 10 rifles in the room where Paddock killed himself. He had checked into the hotel on Thursday.
Police found several more weapons at Paddock’s home in Mesquite, about 90 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Mesquite police spokesman Quinn Averett told reporters.
Photo captions: 1) Cathi Parish at the microphone. 2) Scene of the shooting. (ABC News). 3) A man lays on top of a woman as others flee the music festival grounds after an active shooter was reported on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. The woman later was seen getting up with help. 4) Stephen Paddock. 5) Dan Wooding at the microphone at KWVE.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and also two television programs — “Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding” and “Windows on the World,” with Dr. Garry Ansdell, both carried worldwide on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv). He is the author of numerous books, the latest of which is a novel about the life of Jesus through the eyes of his beloved mother and called “Mary: My Story from Bethlehem to Calvary.” For more information, please go to http://marythebook.com/, where you can find details of how to order the book.
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