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Officials project cost of response to Vegas shooting at $4M

In this Oct. 3, 2017 photo, a Las Vegas police officer stands by a blocked off area near the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas. (John Locher / Associated Press)
In this Oct. 3, 2017 photo, a Las Vegas police officer stands by a blocked off area near the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas. (John Locher / Associated Press)
By Ken Ritter Associated Press

LAS VEGAS – The costs of emergency police, fire and other services related to the Las Vegas shooting massacre were projected Wednesday at about $4 million and climbing.

The disclosure came amid pledges by the federal government to provide $1 million, and from the state of Nevada to pay $600,000 to defray costs stemming from the Oct. 1 Las Vegas Strip shooting that killed 58 people.

Las Vegas police Officer Laura Meltzer provided what she called a preliminary figure of $3.5 million for department costs associated with the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

“We still have a lot of resources devoted to the investigation,” Meltzer said. “We still have people working overtime and around the clock on it.”

The amount spent on overtime to date amounts to more than half a percent of the annual Las Vegas police budget.

Clark County administrators on Tuesday estimated fire department, coroner and social services costs at between $300,000 and $500,000, county spokesman Erik Pappa said.

“Over the long term, we expect it will be in the millions,” he said.

Pappa noted that a facility dubbed the “The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center” opened Monday to serve as a one-stop resource for references and referrals for residents, visitors and responders affected by the shooting. He said it is expected to remain open for several years.

In addition to the dead, officials say nearly 550 people were injured when a 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and real estate investor with homes in Reno and Mesquite, Nevada, fired assault-style weapons out two 32nd-floor windows at the Mandalay Bay resort into a crowd of 22,000 people at an open-air country music concert across the street.

Police and the FBI have said they believe the shooter, Stephen Paddock, acted alone. They have not disclosed if they have discovered Paddock’s motive.

The U.S. Justice Department last week announced a $1 million award from “justice assistance” funds to Nevada to help defray immediate costs of responding to the shooting.

On Tuesday, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and state Attorney General Adam Laxalt allocated $600,000 from funds that Laxalt said were reaped from a deceptive trade practices lawsuit settlement in July. Laxalt called the money non-taxpayer funds.

Sandoval called the money a first step in providing “any additional resources necessary” to help the investigation, and said the police department should receive the state money within 15 days.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, with almost 2,700 sworn officers, has an annual budget of $552 million. It covers most of Clark County, with a population of about 2 million people and more than 40 million visitors a year. The annual county budget is about $6.6 billion.

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