Photographer helps Las Vegas shooting survivors from Seattle heal
SEATTLE -- For the first time since the deadly Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, survivors from the Pacific Northwest and their families came together Sunday as a large group to heal.
Dennis Guerrero was one of thousands of people who survived the shooting in early October 2017. On Sunday, he brought his movement called, "#LoveWins" to the Thompson Hotel in Seattle to help families affected by the tragedy.
Guerrero, a photographer taken pictures at the Las Vegas festival for the past several years, started the "#LoveWins" movement two days after the shooting to replace stories about the tragedy with photos of beautiful moments instead.
He's already held several similar events across the country.
"Whether there's 100 people or 1,000 people, everybody leaves with a photo. So that way they have something to remember," said Guerrero.
"There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t stop thinking about it," said survivor Sharon Hoover. "Every single day, I think about it. I'm waiting for the day that I don't."
Hoover was near the stage in Las Vegas when the initial shots were fired. She thought she wouldn't live to meet her unborn granddaughter, she said.
Hoover held her granddaughter in her arms Sunday thrilled that she's happy and healthy.
"For me, it feels really good to be able to bring us all together and do something positive," Hoover said. "Coming back to Washington state, we thought we were alone. And to find out there’s this many people in Washington was huge. And so to be here, it feels good to be surrounded. And so, this was definitely a positive memory for us."
In a way, taking photos of survivors and their families helps Guerrero heal from that dark day too.
As he stands behind the camera focused on all the smiles in the lens, he too, can replace the anger and sadness with memories of joy and love.
"I want people to refresh the good memories versus the 11 minutes that we all went through hell," Guerrero said. "And these photos are my way of actually giving back to them so they actually take that with them."
The next even will be held February 25 in Las Vegas. 10 photographers, including Guerrero, have signed up to capture pictures of hundreds of survivors and their families. It will be Guerrero's first time back in Las Vegas since the shooting, he said.