Jewish woman shot in Vegas massacre, undergoes surgery, not in danger

Other Jews may be among injured, says Rabbi Mendy Harlig, a chaplain with local police force, who worked with Israeli consul to find unaccounted-for Israelis

Amanda Borschel-Dan is The Times of Israel's Jewish World and Archaeology editor.

People assist a wounded woman at the Tropicana during an active shooter situation in Las Vegas Sunday on October 1, 2017. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
People assist a wounded woman at the Tropicana during an active shooter situation in Las Vegas Sunday on October 1, 2017. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

A chaplain on the Las Vegas Metro Police Force confirmed to The Times of Israel that one of the wounded from the shooting spree that left at least 58 people dead and over 515 wounded has been identified a Jewish female.

She underwent surgery and her condition is “not life-threatening,” Rabbi Mendy Harlig said.

Harlig, the rabbi of the Chabad of Green Valley, is currently working with the Israeli consul to help locate missing Israelis, who may have been at the scene of last night’s country music festival.

He said that as of this writing, there hasn’t been any indication of Israeli victims. A list of 15 or 20 unaccounted-for Israeli citizens, he said, has shrunk to four. (All Israelis have now been located.)

Las Vegas Police Chaplain Rabbi Mendy Harlig. (Facebook)

While he is unaware of other Jewish victims at this time, “it seems there are Jewish names being read of those who are in the hospitals,” said Harlig.

As a police chaplain, Harlig said he is “working with the officers who were on the scene, as well as working with the families here at the Fusion Center who are trying to get information on their families.”

“I went to the scene to give support to officers because of what they had to experience,” he said. Harlig said that while he didn’t enter very deeply into the crime scene, he saw it “from the outside, the lines of bodies covered up, the count of bodies, the blood on the floor. It was just horrible,” he said.

“It is hitting very close to home,” said Harlig, who has been involved in the kosher certification of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, from where the shooter opened fire.

Las Vegas is a community, he said, and every part of it was affected by last night’s shooting. Many young adults and teens have been shot and at least one off-duty officer, Harlig said.

Police officers stand at the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, October 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Jewish Nevada, the hub for Jewish philanthropic and communal life in the region, wrote on its Facebook page a statement in support of the broader Las Vegas community.

“As the sun rises on Las Vegas today, we will be a changed city. What will not change is our compassion for one another, our ability to embrace millions of visitors every year, and our resilience in the face of challenging circumstances,” wrote Jewish Nevada.

Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel of Midbar Kodesh Temple is holding special evening prayers and a night-time vigil.

“In the days and weeks to come, we will be asked to reach out to friends and strangers alike to offer assistance, aid and comfort. We will be there for them… Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and we offer strength and wisdom to those first responders that are tending to them even now,” wrote Tecktiel on his Facebook.

Police officers enter the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino during the shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, October 1, 2017. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Police Chaplain Harlig said he did not expect there to be many more Jewish victims, “but it is possible some of my community has been affected.” One congregant’s granddaughter, he said, was at the very back of the hall and thus spared in the shooting.

Other Chabad rabbis are at or on their way to the hospital to serve the wounded and families there, most of whom are not Jewish.

Harlig said while it is too soon to begin picking up the pieces, “a lot of my community is reaching out, wanting to help,” he said.

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