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Offaly native says Las Vegas is in ‘disbelief’

Friday, 6th October, 2017 10:00am

Offaly native says Las Vegas is in ‘disbelief’

John O'Donnell, who grew up in Banagher.

A Las Vegas-based Offaly native who personally knew two of the victims of Sunday night's massacre in the entertainment mecca says that his adopted community is still in "disbelief".

Businessman John O'Donnell, who grew up in Banagher, has a restaurant in the MGM Grand Hotel on Las Vegas Boulvevard, a short distance from the Mandalay hotel where lone gunman Stephen Paddock shot dead 59 people and injured hundreds of others, who were attending an outdoor country music concert on Sunday evening.

Speaking to the Offaly Indpendent this week, Mr O'Donnell says the people of Las Vegas are still coming to terms with what is the largest gun massacre in US recent history.

"It's still shocking. People are getting on with their business now. Sunday was a very sombre day, people felt disbelief, numbness.

"I knew two of the girls that passed away. I would have been friendly enought with them. Some of the injured who have been named so far, I don't know but I imagine I will. It is a pretty small town. A lot of locals go to these concerts. I went to that concert last year on the Saturday night and like any kind of event in Las Vegas you bump into a tonne of people. It's like when you go to O'Connor Park or something like that."

Mr O'Donnell, who moved to Las Vegas in 1996, has four restaurants in the town. He believes that Las Vegas and its people will bounce back from the tragic events of the weekend.

"We've just opened a new steak house at the Hard Rock Hotel, that's where I was last night. It was business as usual. We are all experiencing the same things but you have got to go to work, you got to bring some kind of normalcy back to your life. That's how anyone gets through things like this by getting back to normal. This is a busy time in Las Vegas, this is convention time. This is a time when we make money, the bread and butter time.

"It's crazy times we live in. Something like this could happen happen in any city not just Vegas, there are nut jobs around the world," he ends.


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