Sports stars, teams grieve after Las Vegas shooting horror

US sports stars took to social media to voice their support for victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting.
US sports stars took to social media to voice their support for victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting.PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US sports world was left reeling on Monday in the wake of the shooting carnage in Las Vegas which left at least 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.

Less than 24 hours after the massacre at a country music concert in the Nevada gambling hub, athletes, teams and leagues reacted in disbelief as the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history hit home.

LeBron James was among an array of star athletes from different sports - including several with ties to Las Vegas - who took to social media to voice condolences and express their grief.

"Pray for Vegas!! What the hell is going on people!?!? My prayers sent to the heavens above for all the families," Cleveland Cavaliers star James wrote.

The National Football League announced a plan to honor those affected with a moment of silence before Monday's game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins.

The Oakland Raiders, set to relocate to Las Vegas in 2020, meanwhile said the team would donate US$50,000 to a relief fund. Some athletes found themselves directly caught up in the shooting spree.

Former British women's tennis number one Laura Robson recounted how she and a friend attending the concert were caught up in the shooting as gunfire erupted.

"I'm okay," she tweeted. "We were right there.. sounded like fireworks at first then everyone started running. Scary sh*t.

"My friend who was deeper in crowd has been helping people who were shot. We're all in shock."

American pole vaulter Sandi Morris, second at the 2016 Rio Olympics and this year's world championships, posted a Twitter link to a video message she made after spending five hours in lockdown at a Vegas theater following a Blue Man Group performance.

"This is probably one of the scariest things I've ever experienced in my life if not the scariest," she said, later describing the walk back to her hotel - "It was a ghost town. It was very surreal and odd."

Sports stars from Las Vegas and across the United States were stunned and saddened at the tragedy.

"Sad day. Love and prayers #lasvegas. Let's not let hate win. Be kind to one another," wrote former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, who lives in Las Vegas.

"Speechless, pray for my home," Las Vegas native and 2016 Olympics US high jumper Vashti Cunningham wrote on Twitter.

"The pride of Vegas runs deep when you are born and raised in such a great town. I can't fathom the horrific event that has taken place!" tweeted Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.

Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray was a three-sport high school star in Las Vegas and stunned by the incident following his club's 57-14 NFL loss at Houston.

"Terrible news coming out of my hometown, praying for all affected by this horrific situation," Murray said. "My thoughts are with the victims and their families."

The National Hockey League's first-year Vegas Golden Knights, the city's first major US sports league team set to open their inaugural season Friday, tweeted support for first responders and condolences to the victims.

"We are grateful for our city's brave first responders, law enforcement and medical personnel and the courage they demonstrated under unimaginable circumstances. We join in our city's mourning and offer our full support to the people of Las Vegas to help grieve, heal and persevere," the team said.

The reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots tweeted "our hearts are with everyone affected by last night's tragedy in Las Vegas" while the reigning World Series baseball champion Chicago Cubs tweeted, "We are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting in Las Vegas."

University of Nevada Las Vegas ice hockey assistant coach Nick Robone was among those shot at the concert, according to the team's twitter page.

He suffered a bruised lung and was in intensive care following surgery but is expected to make a full recovery.

 

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