SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A Santa Maria church pastor Pastor spent his day Monday calling everyone to make sure they were safe and not hurt following a mass shooting outside Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Daniel Cassels knows the Las Vegas community well. He lived in the area for many years. His in-laws, best friends, and church family still live there.
"Last night was easily the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced,” he read.
Those words on Facebook hit close to home for Cassels, pastor at Life Way Fellowship in Santa Maria.
"I was in the front row of the Route 91 Festival, I watched the girl right next to be get shot and killed,” he continues to read.
It’s a post from someone at his former church in Las Vegas. A place where he once practiced his ministry. Cassels was a minister at Shadow Hills Church in Vegas.
Paralyzed with fear, thousands of people at the festival ran for their lives as non-stop bullets came raining down from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
Cassels said he found out about the mass shooting when he woke up Monday morning. The first thing that went through his mind was, "Concern for my family members and the people I love in Las Vegas.”
"A young lady who had been shot and paralyzed by the waist down--you can’t help to be moved because that’s someone's daughter,” he said.
Their family and friends worried if they would ever get to talk or see them again. One by one they started to check themselves in as “safe” on Facebook.
"It’s an awful situation no way around that, but good can come out of it when the community comes together,” said Cassels.
He said it will take time for people to heal. He's opening up the doors of his church for anyone who needs someone to lean on.
"There are people that make bad decisions or are bad people, but, that doesn't mean we have to live in fear,” he said.
The pastor said he welcomes anyone in the community to join bible study Tuesday night at 6:30 at Life Way Fellowship. They will open it up for a time of prayer and for people to have a place where they can just talk about the recent tragedies.
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