Questions surrounding disbursement of 1 October victims' fund lingers among victims

LAS VEGAS - Questions surrounding disbursement of 1 October victims’ fund lingers among victims

The committee of 16 community representatives overseeing the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund released Thursday the draft protocol for distribution of funds to victims of the October 1 tragedy. 

However, there's still a lot that has to be figured out including how much each victim will get.  As of now, only those who lost their lives or were physically injured will benefit from the victims' fund.

"I've seen him getting shot; I've seen people dying," said Claudia Romero, 1 October shooting victim.

The mental wounds are still very fresh in the mind of Claudia Romero as her husband continues to recover from his physical wounds from the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Harry was shot in his legs protecting his wife during the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

"So the bullet went through my right leg and totally shattered my left leg," Harry said.

The couple from southern California is unable to work. Harry is still healing from his injuries, and Claudia is caring for her husband who can't walk.  But that hasn't stopped their bills from piling up.

"I know he worries a lot about the bills and stuff, but my daughter is helping us a lot," Romero said.

Since Harry was among the physically wounded, he will be able to file a claim to benefit from the money donated by people all over the world.  According to a draft released by Clark County, priority will be given to families who lost a loved one and victims with permanent paralysis or brain damage, followed by all other wounded victims.

"We'll make a determination based on how people were injured," said Scott Nielson, Chairman, Las Vegas Victims Fund Committee. "We will make a determination based on how long they spent in the hospital. 

Nielsen says the per victim amount will eventually be calculated based on the number of claims and the total amount donated.

Early estimations for all accounts are at about $15 million, including more than $11 million from the GoFund me page set up by Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak.

The money will be distributed on top of whatever the victims' own insurance covered as well as independent fundraising efforts.

The 16-member committee set up an estimated timeline that includes finalizing the protocol by Dec. 15 and making the online claim form available by Jan. 2.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 31.

"What we have is... we have money that's been given as a gift; a charitable gift," Nielson said.

Claudia and Harry say they're thankful they were given the gift of survival.

"It's hard," said Claudia. "I mean, physically we're going to get through this, but mentally it will take some time.

The committee wants to hear from the public. Two town hall meetings will be held on Tuesday, November 28 at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Clark County Government Center. That's where families of victims will be able to weigh in.

Written comments are also welcome at comments@lasvegasvictimsfund.org or by mail to Las Vegas Victims’ Fund, P.O. Box 551111, Las Vegas, Nevada 89155-1111.

If all goes as planned, distribution of funds will begin Mar. 5 of next year.


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