Many other sites of mass shootings have eventually reopened afterwards
It's unclear what will happen to the Las Vegas site in the future
As Americans mourn the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, questions will inevitably arise about the future of the Las Vegas Village, now the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
Owned by MGM Resorts, the venue is little more than a swath of concrete with a stage on the Las Vegas strip. But to many victims’ advocates and survivors, it has become hallowed ground.
Investigators still don’t know what prompted 64-year-old Stephen Paddock to open fire on thousands of attendees at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds more. The brazen attack on the outdoor arena shocked the nation.
“It was a deadly ambush in a city built as an open invitation to the world,” read a front-page story published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
How will the city – which attracts millions of tourists each year – pay tribute to the tragic events, even as it returns to its wild and boisterous self?
“I saw those people die there,” survivor Lisa Fine told CNN. “That ground there is very sacred.”
“I want that place to be totally cleaned up, and I want it to look beautiful and have something that is just a memory of (the victims and survivors),” said Fine. “I want people to know who they were.”
MGM Resorts has not said whether or not it plans to erect a memorial for victims or when it might reopen the venue. There have been no official calls from victims’ advocates or the greater Las Vegas community for such a site. But it wouldn’t be unheard of.
Here’s what happened to other scenes of mass shootings and attacks in the United States:
Almost a year after a gunman killed 49 people at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the owner of Pulse announced plans to turn the venue into a memorial and museum to honor the victims of what was, until the Las Vegas massacre, the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. It was originally thought the city of Orlando would purchase the property to establish a memorial, but owner Barbara Poma, who started the club in honor of her brother, ultimately decided against selling to the city and opted to pursue the effort herself. Funds for the memorial are being raised by the OnePulse Foundation.
After renovations to repair the damage done by the 23-year-old gunman who killed 32 people on campus in 2007, Norris Hall quickly reopened. Rather than classrooms, it now houses the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention and offices and labs for the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics. The West Ambler Johnston residence hall, where the shooter killed two of his victims, remains a dormitory. It came into the spotlight again this year when two of its residents were accused of killing a 13-year-old in Blacksburg. At the school’s drill field, 300-pound “Hokie Stones” bear the names of the five faculty and 27 students killed at West AJ and Norris Hall.
After a gunman killed his mother, 20 children and six staff and faculty of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, classes were suspended until the following January. When students returned, it wasn’t to Sandy Hook, but to Chalk Hill Middle School. Sandy Hook was razed to make way for a new school that is slated open in the fall.
Luby’s in Killeen
More than 100 people were having lunch at the popular cafe in Killeen, Texas, in October 1991 when a 35-year-old gunman drove through a window before opening fire on the eatery’s patrons. He killed 23 people and then himself. Luby’s remained open until 2000. The building still sits on a busy highway in Killeen, though today it is host to a Chinese restaurant with a lunch buffet.
In 1984, a 41-year-old armed with a long-barreled Uzi, a shotgun and a handgun killed 21 children and adults at a McDonald’s before police ended the rampage by killing the gunman. The McDonald’s was later torn down, and a Southwestern College satellite was built there. In 1990, a pyramid monument composed of 21 hexagonal pillars was built in honor of the victims.
University of Texas Tower
In 1966, a former U.S. Marine with a rifle killed 16 people while firing shots from the University of Texas Tower in Austin. Police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy killed the gunman while he was still in the tower, and police learned later the shooter had killed his wife and mother earlier in the day. In 1998, the University of Texas announced it would reopen the deck from which the gunman shot his victims. It now has security guards and a lattice fence.
After a December 2015 shooting massacre that left 14 people dead at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, the center was forced to shut down for weeks. Employees returned to work in January, but the center now has several new rules in place. Unannounced visits to the facility are no longer allowed, and visitors are required to supply the names of anyone who accompanies them to their appointments. Those arriving for their appointments are directed to a single entrance where they are pre-screened by security guards in the parking lot. They are screened again in the main lobby before entering the main building, and escorts accompany visitors throughout their appointments.
An Army major and psychiatrist went on a shooting rampage in November 2009, killing 13 people and wounding 32 more at the largest active-duty military post in the country. The shooter has since been convicted and sentenced to death. Thanks to about $400,000 in donations, a memorial was erected near the Killeen Civic and Conference Center to honor the victims. Sculptor and Vietnam veteran Troy Kelley said he wanted to make sure future generations did not forget what happened, “but most of all I wanted to honor the victims that through no fault of their own gave their life on that horrible day.”
Two teenagers killed 13 people and wounded 23 more at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in April 1999. Ten of the victims died in the school’s library. HOPE Columbine, a group made up of the victims’ families and friends, wanted the library removed from the school, and the school board obliged. The library was transformed into an atrium with a mountain view, murals and hanging clouds incorporated into its design. A new library was constructed elsewhere on campus.
Twelve people were killed and dozens were injured when a gunman opened fire on a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012. Last year, the gunman pleaded guilty to all 165 counts against him, including 24 counts of first-degree murder and 140 counts attempted murder, and was sentenced to life in prison. Cinemark reopened the theater six months later amid criticism and outrage. Some families boycotted invitations to remembrance ceremonies, but other families said they felt visiting the theater helped provide closure.
A young, white man entered the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in June 2015 and, after joining a Bible study class, opened fire and killed nine parishioners. This month, on the anniversary of the shootings, the church opened its doors for a series of events commemorating the victims. One of those events – a Wednesday Bible study, the same event at which the victims were slain, drew 150 people. It was led by the Rev. Anthony Thompson, whose wife was one of those victims. The church has asked people to perform acts of kindness Tuesday as “Acts of Amazing Grace Day” and share their good deeds on its Facebook page.
CNN’s Madison Park and Boris Sanchez contributed to this report.