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Las Vegas shooting survivor, Santa Maria residents turn to churc - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Las Vegas shooting survivor, Santa Maria residents turn to church for healing

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The trauma of the Las Vegas shooting can be difficult to handle, no matter how many miles away you live.

Lifeway Fellowship Church in Santa Maria wanted to help people deal with that Tuesday night in a service open to the public. Their intention: to give people hope and some peace of mind.

Santa Maria resident Joseph Vasquez attended the service after surviving Sunday night's shooting. Vasquez says he was enjoying the Route 91 Harvest Festival with six friends when confusion, chaos, and trauma ensued all around him.

"It's something you see in a movie, that you never want to see in real life," said Vasquez.

Vasquez ran for his life.

"I'd go to another spot, thinking it's safe, and right when I'm there, I hear bullets going off," Vasquez said.

His first instinct was to call his son at home and tell him he loves him.

Now, Vasquez is looking at life differently. It's part of the reason he attended the service hosted at Lifeway Fellowship Church.

Pastor Daniel Cassels, who started in the ministry in Las Vegas in 2000, devoted the service to victims and the community in Las Vegas.

"People have a tendency to be overwhelmed, just by the visuals, just by the thought. We need to understand that, in a world where it feels like this could happen anywhere, at any time, that there is hope," Cassels said.

Cassels says good can come out of tragedy, as the community in Las Vegas has shown. The Central Coast is looking to step up as well.

"We've had a lot of people calling and asking how can we help whether it's donating blood, donating funds or, as we're doing tonight, we're praying for those people," Cassels said.

Donations from Tuesday night's service will go to Shadow Hills Church in Las Vegas, which is working to help those impacted by the tragedy.

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