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Victims of Las Vegas concert mass shooting must apply for assistance by Oct. 1

A makeshift memorial to victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting, on the northern end of the Las Vegas strip, Oct. 3, 2017. (Hilary Swift/Copyright 2018 The New York Times)

LAS VEGAS—About 275 tickets were sold from the three-state region to last year's deadly outdoor country music concert in Las Vegas, where 58 people died and 851 were injured.

Officials from Nevada's Victims of Crime Program are encouraging people to apply for funding by the approaching deadline of Oct. 1, which is one year after the nation's largest mass shooting occurred.

In the shooting, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, sprayed gunfire on a crowd of 21,210 concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Witnesses said the gunshots lasted between 10 and 15 minutes. Officers entered Paddock's hotel room to find him dead. Authorities believe Paddock killed himself and that he acted alone.

According to Mary Woods, public information officer for the Nevada victims' program, the agency calls for applications to be submitted within one year of the crime.

Funds from the program can be used by survivors for out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills or counseling co-pays that are not covered by insurance, according to Woods. Even those survivors who don't have any eligible expenses are still encouraged to apply for the program before the Oct. 1 deadline just in case they incur any future expenses that might be covered by the program.

Of the 21,210 tickets sold for the Route 91 Harvest Festival outdoor venue, only about 23 percent of the ticket holders, 4,851 people, have applied for assistance.

In North Dakota, there were 117 tickets purchased and so far only 15 people have applied for aid. In Minnesota, there were 101 tickets purchased and only 13 submitted applications so far. And in South Dakota, there were 57 tickets sold, and only six have applied.

Woods encourages those who were at the mass shooting to apply before the deadline.

Stephanie Pierson, the director of the South Dakota Victims' Services Program, said this is a national outreach effort by the state of Nevada to ensure shooting victims have an opportunity for reimbursement.

Pierson said in a statement that her program has not received any calls from South Dakotans who attended the concert, but she also encouraged shooting survivors to not hesitate to apply.

Woods said there have been several other funds used since the tragedy last October. One fund from private donations collected about $31 million for families of those who died and for those injured. The fund was distributed within months of the shooting. Similar funds were established to help mass shooting victims of the Orlando gay bar shooting and the Boston Marathon street bombing.

Woods said funding for the Nevada Victims of Crime program comes from various government agencies and doesn't include private donations.

Ticket holders for the Las Vegas event are encouraged to apply to the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center website VegasStrongRC.org or by calling 1-833-299-2433.

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