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Perquimans coach's parents attended Las Vegas concert where gunman opened fire

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In this undated photo, Perquimans High School football coach Ian Rapanick (center) poses with his parents, Chris (left) and Larisa (right) Rapanick on the football field at Perquimans High.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Monday, October 2, 2017

HERTFORD — The deadly shooting rampage at a country music concert in Las Vegas Sunday night hit close to home for the head football coach at Perquimans County High School.

Ian Rapanick’s parents were among the 22,000 people attending the outdoor concert attacked by a lone sniper firing from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino hotel. Police say 59 people have now died and another 500 were injured in what’s being called the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

Rapanick said Monday that his parents, Chris and Larisa Rapanick, who live in Chesapeake, Virginia, had gone to Las Vegas for their wedding anniversary.

“They’re big country music fans and they wanted to see everybody so they went to the festival,” Rapanick said.

The country music festival featured top country music acts such as Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean.

At 10:08 p.m. Sunday, police say a lone gunman, Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old resident of a nearby retirement community, opened fire on the crowd from his room in the Mandalay Bay hotel. He would continue to fire what police believe was automatic gunfire for more than 10 minutes before they were able to locate him at the Mandalay Bay. Police said Paddock killed himself before officers stormed the room where he had been staying.

Rapanick said his mother called him around 1 a.m. Eastern time Monday to tell him what was going on and kept him posted throughout the ordeal.

Rapanick said when his mother called him she was screaming into the phone that there was a shooter at the concert but people didn’t know where the shots were coming from.

He said his parents ran into a casino next to the festival area, and the casino staff locked and barricaded the building and moved everyone into a large room to ride out the attack.

“At that point they didn’t know that there was only one shooter,” Rapanick said,

They stayed in the room at the caino until about 6 a.m. Monday, he said.

Rapanick said he was grateful that his parents are OK. As of late Monday afternoon they were on a plane for home, he said.

“They’re OK now and they’re on the way back,” Rapanick said.

Several other area residents apparently were also in Las Vegas Sunday night but not at the concert.

Financial adviser Dave Simpson of Elizabeth City said on his Facebook page that he and Danny Glover, an Elizabeth City attorney, and other people in their group had attended a show at Caesars Palace and were in the casino at the hotel when they heard about the gunfire at the concert.

“While we were in there, I heard a dealer say there had been a shooting, but it sounded like a one-off unfortunate situation,” Simpson said in his Facebook post.

When Simpson’s group left the casino about 11 p.m., he said their Uber driver told them more about the incident.

“Hard to believe we were so close to tragedy and yet never really in harm's way,” Simpson said in the post.

Caesars Palace is about a mile and half from the Mandalay Bay hotel.

Simpson said he and Glover were heading home Monday, grateful they are OK but “so, so sorry for those impacted by last night's evil."

Neither Simpson nor Glover could immediately be reached via Facebook emails Monday afternoon.

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