Adam Simon looked solemnly at his tattoo.
He sat under the pavilion at a Tuesday night prayer vigil for the 58 people who died in a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on the Strip on Sunday.
What was left from the night of horror was the ink on his right arm — simple black lettering, with a Route 91 sign, and pink skin underneath.
His tattoo, inked the day before, was as fresh as his memories of Sunday night. He called the tattoo an outlet for his pain.
“I don’t put tattoos on my body … unless they have meaning,” Simon, 25, of Las Vegas said. “It’s more of a memorial, a remembrance. It’s to let people know something did happen. People are going to look at my arm down the road, and think what happened on that date? I’m going to be able to say, ‘I have a story for you.’”
As Tuesday went from daylight to dusk, Simon sat at the front of the pavilion at Mountain Crest Park, where officials and pastors spoke and prayed for healing for valley residents at a vigil held in lieu of a previously scheduled National Night Out event. About 200 people attended.
“Our citizens stepped up, to give of themselves — not just their blood, or their time, or their money — but to give of their souls,” Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez told the crowd gathered under the pavilion. “To go out and share their emotions and their support. This community has strengthened my faith because of all of the activities of everyone who lives here.”
After officials spoke and offered prayers, 59 candles were lit in memory of those who died. (The death toll was earlier reported to be 59, not 58.)
Simon sat with two of his friends, who were with him when bullets rained down on them from above.
“It was a massacre — it was sheer terror,” Simon said. “People running everywhere, screaming, bullets flying, ricochets of bullets, the sound of the gun that was going off repeatedly for what seemed like forever. It was a night that I’ll never forget.”
Simon said he’d slept fitfully the over the past two days. As soon as he turns on country music, he’s taken back to that night. He remembers how the shooting happened after some of his favorite musicians finished playing.
Simon was accompanied to 702 Tattoo by his friend Codi Towne, and hopes more concert attendees will be inspired to get similarly inked.
The tattoo artist, Jesse James of 702 Tattoo, was so inspired by their story of survival, that he discounted the price, and said he will do so for other concertgoers.
“I’m very relieved,” Simon said of his survival. “At the same time, it’s going to take a long time to get over it, seeing what I saw.”