UF student among those wounded in Las Vegas massacre

Vigil held outside Gainesville City Hall to honor everyone affected by shooting

By Ethan Calloway - Anchor/reporter, News4Jax.com Staff

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A University of Florida law student was wounded in Sunday's unprecedented mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival, school officials confirmed Monday.

The third-year law student, Kristin Babik, was in stable condition following the shooting, according to a message posted on Twitter by UF President Kent Fuchs.

In an email to students and faculty, the law school Dean Laura Ann Rosenbury wrote that she had spoken with Babik, who has broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

"Thankfully, the gunshot missed Kristin's major organs and spine, but she suffered a collapsed lung and broken ribs," Rosenbury stated, adding that Babik is on bed rest.

Babik confirmed that information in a Facebook post Monday, saying: "I am doing well and in a stable condition. I am incredibly thankful to be alive and to have so many caring people in my life."

WKMG in Orlando spoke to Babik's brother, Jeff Babik, who said he found out about the shooting around 2 a.m. Monday after his family got a call from a nurse in Las Vegas. He reported to WKMG that his sister had a law internship in Las Vegas over the summer and was there visiting friends. A Go Fund Me account has been set up for Babik by her friends.

The mass shooting, the deadliest of its kind in modern U.S. history, happened as country music star Jason Aldean was onstage during the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

Gunfire erupted midsong from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino onto the crowd of more than 22,000 below, turning the venue into a killing field.

As of Monday, at least 59 people had died and more than 500 were injured in the shooting.

A candlelight vigil was held Monday night outside Gainesville City Hall to honor Babik and all of the people affected by the shooting. 

The tone was somber as a bell tolled for each person killed in the Las Vegas massacre. Dozens gathered at the steps of City Hall, lighting candles and praying, weighed down by sadness. 

"The tragedy of Pulse last year hit very close to home. So many lives were impacted," Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe said. "We have a student from the university that was one of the victims, so it rings very true and close to our hearts."

Poe said the vigil honored everyone affected by the shooting, although the UF community is especially shaken after learning Babik was injured in the attack.

"This is the eighth mass shooting since the beginning of 2017. Fifty-nine people attending a concert last night were gunned down in cold blood and enough is enough," said Margaret Hamer, with the Gainesville chapter of Moms Demand Action.

The Moms Demand Action group is pushing for gun legislation. It hopes will stop this type of violence.

"Currently, in the House of Representatives, there’s a bill called the Share Act that’s seeking to loosen regulations on silencers. A really simple action you can take is to call your representative and say, 'I don’t support the Share Act. Please vote against it,'" Hamer said.

News4Jax contacted the National Rifle Association for comment about the legislation, but it declined to comment. 

The mayor said the vigil was also a way to show unity in the face of tragedy.

"When things look the darkest, you have friends, your co-workers that are there to support you and, sort of, prop you up during this very difficult time," Poe said. 
 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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