Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer called the mayor of Las Vegas Monday to offer aid and support following the worst massacre in U.S. history.
The mayor held a press conference Monday and was joined by Fire Chief Roderick Williams and Orlando Police Chief John Mina, who said that Las Vegas police officers took part in a tactical training course led by Orlando police in October 2016, following the Pulse tragedy.
“I woke up this morning to another unimaginable tragedy,” said Dyer. “When I first heard the news, my heart sank and it immediately took me back to June 12, 2016.
At least 58 people were killed and 515 were injured in Las Vegas Sunday night when a gunman opened fire on a music festival crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
It took the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history title from Orlando, which held the horrible stat following the massacre of 49 people at Pulse nightclub.
The mayor said he shared with Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman his expertise on creating a family assistance center for victims and their families. He voiced concern for first responders, victims and family members of the Pulse massacre, saying the Las Vegas shooting was “starkly similar” and could bring back memories.
He noted that even the initial announcements of victims at 20, then 50 was comparable to the early hours after a gunman killed 49 people and injured 58 at the Orlando gay bar.
Dyer asked Orlando residents to reach out to Pulse survivors and also donate blood at OneBlood, if they want to help.
“Orlando stands united with Las Vegas and we’re here to support them in the long term,” Dyer said.
When Dyer was asked by a reporter about gun control laws, he declined to comment, saying he was “not going to get involved in politics” and would prefer to leave that discussion for another day.
Mina said Orlando police are always aware of the 68 million visitors that come to the Central Florida area each year and advised citizens to remain extra vigilant and if they see something, say something. He noticed that Las Vegas police had used lessons learned during Pulse, including borrowing private vehicles to transport casualties to hospitals.
“I’m sending my heartfelt condolences to those who faced danger,” Williams said. “This will definitely provoke the memories of what happened in our community more than a year ago. I’m hoping the incident will give an opportunity for the Las Vegas community to galvanize and come together.”