Blood Donation Lines Stretch for Blocks Following Las Vegas Massacre

LAS VEGAS — The lines were hundreds deep, snaking out of blood donation centers across the state on Monday and serving as a powerful symbol in the aftermath of the deadliest shooting in American history.

The mayor of Las Vegas, the governor of Nevada and the Clark County Sheriff all urged people to give blood, while the Las Vegas police department directed them to three locations, two in Las Vegas and one in Henderson.

And it was clear that blood was being donated — by the bucket load — across the state.

On Twitter, celebrities, state officials and regular people all shared information about how and where to donate blood, and Nevada residents responded in force, braving wait times reportedly as high as five to six hours.

At one donation center in Las Vegas, a man who identified himself only as Mike said that while the massacre wasn’t as catastrophic as Sept. 11, 2001, he felt that he needed to assist when so many people were suffering.

It “just kind of really hit local — okay, it’s there, it’s right on the corner, it’s in town,” he said on MSNBC, adding: “It’s really nice to have everybody come together and help out like this.”

At United Blood Services, the first donors showed up at around 2 a.m. (5 a.m. ET), staff said — just a few hours after the 10 p.m. Sunday shooting. By 4 in the afternoon the lines stretched out of the facility, around the front of the building and far back into the parking lot. A small army of volunteers gave out burritos, rice and beans, water and bananas.

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Joe Silvestro, 63, who moved to Las Vegas from Boston around a month ago, got there at 6 a.m. and was still preparing to give blood shortly after 4 p.m. His only regret was that he forgot a book.

“I just thought it was the least I can do,” the longtime blood donor said.

Image: A large group of people gather to donate blood

A large group of people gather to donate blood at a special United Blood Services drive at a University Medical Center facility to help victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 2, 2017.