Wednesday, November 22, 2017

After massacre, Las Vegas police beef up marathon security

RECOMMENDED READING


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas is posting snipers and surrounding tens of thousands of runners with other safety measures at a weekend marathon, the first large-scale outdoor event since a gunman killed 58 people at a country music festival.

Police have beefed up security and tweaked their original safety plan for the annual event that starts on the Las Vegas Strip. Some participants say they will be running Sunday to stand up to evil. About 350 officers will be working to protect the runners as they pass by world-famous high-rise casino-hotels and the crime scene.

"We've made a few changes, some subtle things," Capt. Andrew Walsh said. "Obviously, the threat of a sniper attack is something that we know can happen. So, we added some counter-sniper surveillance posts along the route."

A high-stakes gambler and real estate investor killed 58 people and injured hundreds more on Oct. 1 after shattering the windows of his hotel suite and unleashing gunfire on the Route 91 Harvest music festival below. From the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino-hotel, Stephen Paddock had an unobstructed view to rain bullets on the crowd, who had few places to hide.

The police helicopter unit will be circling throughout the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, set to begin just before sunset Sunday. Police also will have bomb-sniffing dogs.

Semi-trucks, dump trucks, buses and other large city vehicles will be positioned at key intersections to try to prevent anyone from driving onto the course, Walsh said, following recent attacks in the U.S. and abroad in which vehicles have plowed into crowds.

He acknowledged that the event presents a huge challenge to police and encouraged casino employees, visitors and others to alert authorities of anything suspicious. Security checkpoints will be set up for the Sunday races — a marathon, half marathon and 10K — and a Saturday 5K and concert.

"With all the things that we've seen happen in the world, whether it's in Texas at a church, whether it is in New York City on a bike path, or whether it's here at a concert, the vulnerabilities that exist and try to predict and prevent each and every one of those is a tremendous challenge," Walsh said.

Organizers moved events away from the scene of the massacre. The concert, typically held at the outdoor venue where the shooting took place, was shifted miles north, across from the SLS hotel.

The start of the marathon, usually outside Mandalay Bay, was moved a mile north to the front of the New York-New York casino-hotel. The race has always featured live bands every mile, but on Sunday, the first 2½ miles — when runners will go by the crime scene twice — will be silent.

Spokesman Dan Cruz said that will serve as an extended moment of silence.

"Running the marathon symbolizes miles of grit, determination; these are driven athletes, who know all about adversity," he said. "So, for them, it's the perfect event to help Las Vegas bounce back."

Cruz said less than 50 people canceled, transferred or deferred their participation, and people still registered after the shooting.

Judy Mace is among the 24,000 people who will run the half marathon. As she picked up her race package Thursday at a convention center, the Orlando, Florida, resident said she never considered canceling and is not concerned about her safety.

"After going through the Pulse shooting in Orlando, you just get angry," said Mace, 68. "They're not going to do this to us. We will not back down. People asked me in Orlando, 'Why are you going? It's probably dangerous.' I said 'No. I'm fine.'"

___

Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO .

Comments
American Athletic Conference power rankings, Week 13

American Athletic Conference power rankings, Week 13

Memphis has locked down the West Division.All that's left is to settle the East with Friday's "War on I-4" between UCF and USF.USF has won six of the eight meetings in the rivalry, but the stakes never have been greater. The winner advances to play M...
Updated: 1 hour ago
More attractive landing spot for coaches, UF or FSU?

More attractive landing spot for coaches, UF or FSU?

GAINESVILLE — Unless Chip Kelly has made up his mind by the time you read this, the Gators are still looking for a new football coach.There's a chance the rival Seminoles aren't far behind. Industry insiders are speculating that Texas A&M could...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
The Latest: N.Korea slams US over terror sponsor designation

The Latest: N.Korea slams US over terror sponsor designation

North Korea has called U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to relist the country as a state sponsor of terrorism a "serious provocation" that justifies its development of nuclear weapons
Updated: 9 minutes ago
John McLaughlin talks about his final tour, jam bands, reviving the Mahavishnu Orchestra and more

John McLaughlin talks about his final tour, jam bands, reviving the Mahavishnu Orchestra and more

As you might imagine, quite a lot of thought goes into planning your final tour ever."It's not a light decision to not tour again, but that really is the situation," said John McLaughlin, the guitarist behind legendary jazz-rock fusion outfit the Mah...
Updated: 10 minutes ago

AP Top News at 6:00 a.m. EST

AP Top News at 6:00 a.m. EST
Updated: 10 minutes ago
The Latest: UN court: Mladic responsible for Bosnian crimes

The Latest: UN court: Mladic responsible for Bosnian crimes

The U.N. judge reading out the verdict for Gen. Ratko Mladic says the Bosnian Serb military chief was responsible for crimes including persecution, extermination, murder in Bosnian towns.
Updated: 11 minutes ago
The Latest: UN court: Mladic responsible for Bosnian crimes

The Latest: UN court: Mladic responsible for Bosnian crimes

The U.N. judge reading out the verdict for Gen. Ratko Mladic says the Bosnian Serb military chief was responsible for crimes including persecution, extermination, murder in Bosnian towns.
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Cold War drama caught on video as N. Korean soldier escapes

Cold War drama caught on video as N. Korean soldier escapes

On a cold, gray afternoon, a lone North Korean soldier races toward freedom, the shock of his comrades palpable as they realize he is defecting to the South and start sprinting after him
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Cold War drama caught on video as N. Korean soldier escapes

Cold War drama caught on video as N. Korean soldier escapes

On a cold, gray afternoon, a lone North Korean soldier races toward freedom, the shock of his comrades palpable as they realize he is defecting to the South and start sprinting after him
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Forecast: Foggy, then partly cloudy Thanksgiving Eve before holiday rain takes hold across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Foggy, then partly cloudy Thanksgiving Eve before holiday rain takes hold across Tampa Bay

A foggy, then partly cloudy day precedes what potentially could be a wet and dreary Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay.Deep moisture in the region has produced thick fog early Wednesday morning, with visibility reduced to a quarter-mile in some areas — in...
Updated: 14 minutes ago