Newsletter: Essential California: Understanding the carnage in Las Vegas

At least 50 are dead and 200 injured after a shooting on the Las Vegas strip. Heartbreakers frontman Tom Petty died Monday at 66. Portraits are emerging of those killed in Las Vegas. L.A. decriminalized sidewalk vending to protect immigrants from de

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Tuesday, Oct. 3, and here’s what’s happening across California:


A massacre in Las Vegas

Police said Monday that a search of the home and computer of 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nev., turned up nothing to explain why he had smashed the windows of his 32nd-floor hotel room with a hammer-like tool and then opened fire on a crowd at an outdoor country music festival near the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday night. Local hospitals were flooded with victims and families desperately searching for information about the injured and deceased. Los Angeles Times


Here’s what we know:

-- At least 59 people were killed and 527 others injured — making this the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Los Angeles Times

-- By the time a SWAT team burst into his room, Paddock had killed himself. Police found 23 firearms in his Mandalay Bay hotel room and 19 more in his home in a retirement community in Mesquite. Los Angeles Times

-- Paddock wasn’t known to be violent, his family says: “We are completely dumbfounded. ” Los Angeles Times


-- Here are the stories of the lives that were lost. Many of the dead concertgoers at the three-day Route 91 Harvest country music festival were Californians. Los Angeles Times

-- Facebook and Google pledged to stop fake news. So why did they promote Las Vegas-shooting hoaxes? Los Angeles Times

-- Photos from a terrible 24 hours in Las Vegas. Los Angeles Times

Some perspectives on the horror and tragedy

On the city: Las Vegas might be the headquarters of American escapism, but its glitz and glamour offer no shelter from a madman with guns. “In this gun-mad society, you hope the risks have been minimized and you know the odds are in your favor. But you also understand that no place is entirely safe,” writes columnist Robin Abcarian. Los Angeles Times

On the shooting: Times columnist Steve Lopez caught up with Irma Garcia, who was shot by a sniper in 1966 in Texas. The Las Vegas massacre brought her pain — and anger about inaction on guns. “I feel for those people. It was so horrible and out of the blue, and you don’t expect it,” Garcia told Lopez. I’m thinking about all of them, and the ones who survived should get some help. Psychological help. I want to let people know it takes a while.” Los Angeles Times

On the music: After horrendous shootings like this, will people still want to attend nightclubs/concerts/large music events in a crowded public space? Times critic Lorraine Ali says yes. Los Angeles Times

On the politics of the moment: “America got its consoler in chief Monday morning when President Trump spoke somberly to the nation from the White House. They are not likely to get results beyond that,” writes Times columnist Cathleen Decker. Los Angeles Times


The next installment of The Times’ true-crime series “Dirty John” drops Wednesday. Be sure to catch up on the first two podcast episodes. Los Angeles Times

Also: Do you have questions about our “Dirty John” series? Join series author Christopher Goffard for a Facebook Live Q&A on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at noon. Leave your questions in advance here: Los Angeles Times


Petty dies: Tom Petty, who rode to the pinnacle of pop music stardom with his beloved and long-running rock band the Heartbreakers, died Monday at 66. On Sunday night, he had been taken to UCLA’s Santa Monica hospital in full cardiac arrest. Petty had just completed an extensive tour to mark the Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary that finished with sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl. Los Angeles Times

False alarm: Los Angeles police said they found no evidence of a shooting on the USC campus Monday after reports of gunfire prompted a lockdown and a substantial LAPD response. Los Angeles Times

USC coach lawyers up: Tony Bland, the USC assistant coach charged last week in the college basketball corruption and fraud scandal, has retained a veteran New York attorney who defended John Gotti Jr. and represents alleged drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Los Angeles Times


A DACA deadline: With an impending deadline to sign up for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, legal clinics on college campuses and elsewhere have boosted efforts to help the so-called Dreamers, even as attorneys battle conflicting messages from the administration and urge clients to prepare for worst-case scenarios. Los Angeles Times



The gun control fight: After the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, some say the nation could look to California, a state where previous incidents have sparked laws to combat gun violence, for guidance. Los Angeles Times

GOP bigwig steps down: Kristin Olsen, vice chair of the California Republican Party, announced Sunday she is stepping down from her post, setting off a search for the state party’s next leader. Los Angeles Times

Freed from prison: Rep. Ami Bera’s father, who was convicted for running a money-laundering scheme to help finance his son’s campaigns, was released from federal custody Thursday. Los Angeles Times


California versus Trump: In the latest legal challenge to the Trump administration’s crackdown on “sanctuary cities,” Los Angeles is suing the U.S. Department of Justice over its policy of conditioning federal funds on cooperation with immigration agents. Los Angeles Times

Civil case settled: Rave company Insomniac and its chief executive, Pasquale Rotella, have agreed to settle a civil lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, which will result in a payment of $3.5 million to the government agency. Los Angeles Times

Polanski speaks: “In a rare press interview, Roman Polanski has addressed the decades-old sexual assault case that continues to dominate any discussion of the 84-year-old Oscar-winning director or his work.” The Hollywood Reporter


A troubled water project: “California’s biggest water project in decades appears to be in limbo after a key irrigation district voted not to help underwrite Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant tunnels that would re-engineer water transport in the state.” KQED


Remember this guy? Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland pleaded not guilty to fraud charges over the Bahamian music event that went viral this spring when ticket holders offered real-time social-media coverage of its disastrous collapse. Los Angeles Times

Big Baller Brand: LaMelo Ball, a 16-year-old junior at Chino Hills, will be home-schooled and not play for any team, his father, LaVar Ball, said Monday in a phone call. “I’m going to make him the best basketball player ever,” LaVar Ball said. Los Angeles Times

And … action! Here are 10 of California’s most famous filming locations. The Mercury News


Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy, 72, Tuesday. Sunny, 76, Wednesday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 71, Tuesday. Sunny, 73, Wednesday. San Francisco area: Sunny, 71, Tuesday and Wednesday. Sacramento: Sunny, 82, Tuesday and Wednesday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Monica Santa Cruz:

“Back in 1984, when I was 10, my mother and my siblings rode the bus to downtown Los Angeles every Saturday morning. We had a routine. We had breakfast at Clifton’s Cafeteria, which was buffet style and something my mom could afford at that time for her and six children. After breakfast we hit a movie at the Million Dollar Theatre. Believe it or not, back then, after watching the movie, sometimes the actors would make an appearance. Talk about a wow moment for us. Then came the last part of the weekend trip. Before leaving, we hit the bakery downstairs from Clifton’s. On this one occasion the craziest thing happened: A lady who was in her 50s or 60s wearing a light brown (very dirty) trench coat gallantly walked in. She yelled something out to catch everyone’s eye and attention and without any regard of the children present she swung her coat wide open to show us her entire naked body. Yikes!”

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.