Remembering 1 October

Remembering 1 October

On October 1, 2017 a horrifying tragedy struck Las Vegas. A gunman opened fire into a crowd of 22,000 attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Fifty-eight victims were killed and almost 500 people were injured in one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history. Since then, two more have died.

Since this tragedy took place, the Oral History Research Center has worked to record the accounts of both the concert attendees and the first responders in order to ensure that we do not forget. In collaboration with the Nevada State Museum, the Clark County Museum, News Bureau of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), and the Mob Museum, the OHRC began documenting this event in late 2017. 

This project contains 66 oral histories. One of these histories is from David Becker, a photographer assigned to cover the Route 91 Harvest Festival. His retelling of the event reflects the confusion felt by many as he recalled wondering, “Why are all these people running?” Despite his own confusion, Becker photographed events as it took place and in doing so documented a true manifestation of horror.

Photograph of painted stones at the Community Healing Garden (PH-00433)
Photo of painted stones at the Community Healing Garden (PH-00433)
Photograph of a memorial wall at the Community Healing Garden (PH-00433)
Photograph of a memorial wall at the Community Healing Garden (PH-00433)

The oral histories of this project recorded not only accounts of the tragedy itself, but the actions of the Las Vegas community afterwards. The community responded with blood drives, a magnificent healing memorial garden created in five days, inter-faith vigils, and many other projects to support the victims and their families. Former hockey player for the Vegas Golden Knights, Deryk Engelland, and his wife, Melissa, were interviewed about their work in the community after the event. Their oral history reflects the shared memory of many people in the Las Vegas community as they tell how they brought food to the fire stations and tried to donate blood, but were turned away due to long lines of community members there to do the same thing. Most importantly for Deryk, he gave a speech on the ice for the first home game of the Golden Knights’ history where he honored the first responders and the fallen. The Engellands went on to create the Vegas Born Foundation where they honored victims and their families each year. 

The accounts of first responders and their families are included in this project’s work to recount the history of this tragic event. Charles Lee Hank III, a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer, and his wife, Lisa, are both featured in the repository. Among Officer Hank’s recollections of the event, he states that the most important part of it all is “to prevent as well as respond if this were to happen again.”

The recording of these histories allow the community to remember the heroes, the fallen, and the efforts put forward to prevent another event such as this from occurring again. Importantly, it reflects the community effort of the entirety of the city to remain #VegasStrong. 

Oral History Recordings

As part of this exhibition, we are specially including recordings of the actual oral history interviews. See the interviews of David Becker, Deryk and Melissa Engelland, and Charles Lee Hank III below:

Recording of David Becker interview

Recording of Deryk and Melissa Engelland interview

Recording of Charles Lee Hank III

Photograph of Las Vegas skyline
Photograph of Las Vegas skyline from the UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of Las Vegas Collection (PH-00394)


Becker, David. “An Interview with David Becker.” By Claytee D. White and Barbara Tabach. Oral History Research Center. May 15, 2018. 

Engelland, Deryk and Melissa. “An Interview with Deryk and Melissa Engelland.” By Barbara Tabach. Oral History Research Center. May 23, 2019. 

Hank, Charles Lee III. “An Interview with Charles Lee Hank III.” By Claytee D. White and Barbara Tabach. Oral History Research Center. April 4, 2019.

Continue learning about the "Remembering 1 October" project here.

Michael Beiler, Director of Development

Michael Beiler

Director of Development
Maggie Farrell, Dean of University Libraries

Maggie Farrell

Dean of University Libraries