People Express Their Grief on Social Media Over the Las Vegas Car Attack

Lakeisha Holloway was arrested about half an hour later. She had allegedly driven about one mile from the scene of the incident on a flat tire .  (Image:   CNN via  Screenshot/YouTube)
Lakeisha Holloway was arrested about half an hour later. She had allegedly driven about one mile from the scene of the incident on a flat tire . (Image: CNN via Screenshot/YouTube)

A 32-year-old mother of three is dead, and 37 more people were injured after a 24-year-old woman drove a sedan into crowds of people on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday evening, December 20.

The chaos ensued at around 6.40 P.M. when the woman, Lakeisha Holloway, driving a 1996 Oldsmobile, veered onto the sidewalk, hitting a woman, and breaking the car’s windscreen. The car plowed into more pedestrians before leaving the scene. Holloway’s 3-year-old daughter was in the backseat at the time, and was unharmed. The little girl is in protective custody.

Watch this CNN news report on the incident:

Holloway was arrested about half an hour later. She had allegedly driven about one mile from the scene of the incident on a flat tire. Holloway then stopped at a hotel and asked a security staff member to call the police because she had just hit a lot of people, according to the police arrest report.

A KTNV news report said witnesses reported members of the public had tried to stop the driver. After she fled the scene, the young woman briefly barricaded herself in the car before police arrested her.

Holloway has been charged with murder with a deadly weapon, child abuse, and leaving the scene of an accident.

The motivation behind the violent attack remains a mystery.

Fox News correspondent Will Carr wrote on Twitter:

Some of Carr’s Twitter followers suggested that the police chief had been asked to keep quiet, perhaps by someone in the government, while other people took a stab in the dark at the young woman’s motives. Facebook users have also offered their opinions about why the young woman would want to plow into crowds of tourists.

Holloway and her 3-year-old daughter had reportedly been living in the sedan in Las Vegas for a week prior to the incident. On Sunday, Holloway told police she had been trying to sleep in the car, only to be shooed off a number of times by security guards in different parking facilities.

Holloway had also been homeless for a period of time during high school. She talked about her troubled youth in a promotional video for the nonprofit Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, where she participated in an employment and training program. The center honored her for her achievements in the program with a Role Model Award in 2012.

The center put out a statement regarding Holloway and the Las Vegas crash:

Four hours after Holloway was taken into custody, family and friends of the woman who was killed, Jessica Valenzuela, were starting to learn what had happened.

Around 10.20 P.M. on Sunday, Jessica Valenzuela’s sister-in-law, Nydia Valenzuela, changed her Facebook profile picture to a black ribbon, and her cover photo to a picture of her nieces — Jessica’s three daughters.

Friends and relatives soon started asking: “Hi Nydia, what’s happening?”, or “Pumpkin, what’s wrong??? Is everyone ok?”

After the initial shock of the tragedy, the family set up a GoFundMe page on December 21 to help with burial costs, the cost of transporting Valenzuela’s body back to her hometown in Buckeye, Arizona, and to help the family take care of her three little daughters.

Valenzuela’s brother, Bryan Roessler, thanked people for showing support in their time of grief. He wrote on Facebook:

Outrage and grief

At the same time, Facebook users were venting their own outrage and grief over the Las Vegas Strip incident. Some called for “car control laws,” mental illness checks for drivers, and for the government to deal with the larger social issue — homelessness.

Facebook user Philip Anderson put forward his view about what had happened on The Strip, writing:

Another Facebook user, Elizabeth Reeder, expressed some degree of empathy for the suspect:

Michael Akeiba Fard wrote:

Dominick Ambrosio said the incident should throw up red flags about mental illness:

Donna Hutt Stapfer wrote:

Other Facebook users took the opportunity to highlight the fact that not all acts of violence involve guns.

Kenneth Starcher wrote:

Anthony Mancuso wrote:

Kathleen Sloan wrote:

And a post with a slightly different tone was penned by Wayne Ariss:

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