Local victim advocates help during Las Vegas recovery

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It has been one month since the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and injured hundreds of others.

Tucson News Now talked with a group of local victim advocates who traveled to the city to help offer services to survivors and relatives of those who died.

The team, requested by Nevada's Attorney General, was made up of five staff members and five volunteers. They left Tucson on Oct. 5 and worked for seven days, from sun up to sun down.

They were stationed at the Las Vegas Convention Center and were tasked to assist anybody needing to help. Each of them said it was an emotional assignment and shared stories of their experience.

Francisco Padilla has been a victim advocate for nearly 24 years. He said one story etched in his mind is about a young man who needed help coping.

The man had found a phone while running away from the chaos. He picked it up and took it with him.

The following day, the phone rang. The woman on the other line wanted it back, so the two set up a location to meet up.

The woman told the man the phone belonged to her sister who was killed in the shooting.

"He shows them the phone and the lady grabs him and they start to cry together, and he asked him why, and she said my sister was killed last night and that's her phone," explained Padilla.

Padilla was also part of the team that responded to the Jan. 8th Tucson shooting.

Tara Roberts has been an advocate volunteer for two years and Las Vegas was her first major assignment. She said she'll never forget the gratitude the victims expressed after getting help.

"I will never forget how grateful he was because he didn't have a voice for himself. So being that voice to guide him to what he needed to taking his first steps to recovering, and getting his life back and just seeing the look on his face and how grateful he was. I'll never forget that," she said.

Upon returning to Tucson, the group debriefed, got some rest and are now continuing their work in our community.

Click here to learn more about Pima County's Victim Services Division.

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