It was the Pulse nightclub shooting. There was the Aurora theater shooting. Some were shortened to a single word that bears all the weight of the tragedy and its history: Columbine. Newtown.
There isn’t a formal way mass shootings are named in the U.S. Often they are christened by media and forged through Google. They usually refer to the geography. Or the location: San Bernardino. Parkland became the name most used to refer to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in February.
The largest mass shooting in modern American history is generally referred to as the Las Vegas shooting. Sometimes Route 91, the name of the music festival the gunman targeted.
But within the city, it has a different name, and it’s used almost exclusively by every elected official and media outlet in the state.
It’s called 1 October.
The name was inspired by the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 that left 130 dead. That attack is commemorated in France as “13 Novembre” — also the title of a documentary released this year.
It was thought up during a conversation between Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg and an FBI employee days after the attack unleashed by Stephen Paddock from his Mandalay Bay suite left 58 dead and hundreds wounded.
Fudenberg said he was trying to come up with a uniform name for the tragedy that would be used forall the reports generated after the attack. He also didn’t want the name “Las Vegas” always mentioned in conjunction with the shooting.
He said neither of them liked the names that were being used that week: Las Vegas shooting, Route 91 shooting, Las Vegas Strip shooting. Fudenberg said he thought the way it had been done for the terrorist attacks in Paris was better — a date that sounded respectful and solemn. But also functional.
They agreed on 1 October. Fudenberg called up Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak to run the name by him. He figured there might be a meeting about it.
Sisolak was headed up to the podium for a news conference last Oct. 6, another media briefing on the shooting. Fudenberg said Sisolak listened and thought it made sense.
As he approached the microphone, he decided that’s what it should be called.
“It was locked in,” Sisolak said. “That’s what we were going to call it. They knew more about this than I did, and I was happy to assist in any way. We needed to come up with a name, and we didn’t want to attach the concert to it or the site to it, or anything like that.”
Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill introduced Sisolak.
Sisolak got right to it.
“In the past four days, we’ve had numerous names assigned to this event — this tragedy,” Sisolak said at the news conference. “For official purposes and in the future, after consultation with the coroner and our first reports coming out this afternoon, the official name that this tragedy will be referred to will be the number 1, October. So the digit ‘1’ and ‘October’ will be the official name listed on all reports and investigations moving forward on this incident.”
But the name caught on locally beyond the official report title. It is on bumper stickers, T-shirts and items commemorating the day — including a series of events leading up to the one-year anniversary Monday. That will include the reading of the names of the 58 victims at night and marquees darkening on the Las Vegas Strip at 10:01 p.m.
Local media also refer to it as “1 October” during regular reports and in the extensive updates on the shooting over the last year.
KSNV, Las Vegas’ NBC affiliate, is airing a special report Monday that has “1 October” in its title.
Dree de Clamecy, managing editor at KSNV, said the name took hold and its meaning was always understood locally.
“It’s a part of the historical record for Las Vegas,” she said. “The date stands out and ensures it will never be forgotten by our community.”
McMahill said it’s become so ubiquitous that he forgot how it ever even came to be known as 1 October.
The undersheriff said most shootings are never forgotten, but they are remembered differently in the places they happen. He said calling it 1 October feels personal.