The Justice Department announced Thursday that the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) awarded more than $8.3 million in Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP) funding to aid Californians, including many from Santa Clarita, who are survivors of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein made the announcement in a speech today to law enforcement at the Los Angeles Crimefighters Leadership Conference.
Fifty-eight people were killed, including SCV resident John Phippen, and more than 600 physically injured when a man opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival, an open-air music venue, from a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino on the Las Vegas strip. When officers located the gunman and entered the room, he was found dead with self-inflicted wounds.
This new grant is being awarded to the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, as 35 of the 58 murder victims and approximately 200 of those physically injured were from California. By some estimates, half of the concert attendees that evening were from the state of California. This incident of mass violence significantly impacted the state resources available to victims.
“The Las Vegas mass shooting was the deadliest in American history, and it inflicted unfathomable damage to hundreds of people, many of whom were visiting from California,” Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said. “While we cannot undo the evil that was done that day, the Department of Justice is doing its part to support first responders and survivors. We have already provided more than $19 million in funds for law enforcement and victims’ services. Today we provide an additional $8.3 million to services for victims from California. We support them and all crime victims –and we will continue to do our part to help them heal.”
The $8,353,884 in funding will provide supplemental crisis response and consequence management support services to help victims as they continue to heal and cope with probable re-traumatization. These services include supplemental crime victim compensation expenses; victim assistance, such as mental health and peer support groups; outreach to identify and contact victims, including a virtual victim resiliency center; and related expenses for support staff to provide these activities. The peer support groups will occur in multiple locations to provide easier access for victims.
In addition to this grant, in November 2018, the Justice Department awarded $16,735,720 to the state of Nevada, primarily for those not residing in California, to assist victims of this terrorist attack, including ticket holders, concert staff, vendors, witnesses, law enforcement personnel, and other first responders. The grant helped to support close family members, medical personnel, coroner’s staff, taxi drivers, and others who helped the concert attendees. In addition, it defrayed the costs of counseling and therapy, vocational rehabilitation, and trauma recovery for victims and emergency responders. Funds also assisted with legal aid and supplemented the massive outlays incurred by the Nevada victim compensation program.
In June 2018, the Department awarded over $2 million to support first responders in the aftermath of the shooting. In addition, in November 2018, the Justice Department announced a new $8.7 million grant to provide multi-disciplinary, scenario-based active shooter training to first responders across the country.
“The scale of loss and suffering endured by these victims and survivors is enormous, and the trauma will follow them the rest of their lives,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt M. Dummermuth. “We hope that these resources will help sustain them as they walk the path from pain and grief to healing.”
AEAP is a non-competitive solicitation specifically created to provide supplemental emergency and longer-term victim support to jurisdictions where a criminal mass violence or domestic terrorism incident occurred. OVC awards funding once local and state authorities have determined the costs associated with responding and have submitted a request for assistance.
For more information about AEAP, please visit: https://www.ovc.gov/AEAP/.
The Office of Justice Programs, led by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt M. Dummermuth, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. More information about OJP and its components can be found at: www.ojp.gov.