- The public official who led the identification of victims after the Vegas shooting set to retire
- 58 people were killed in October 2017 at an outdoor music festival
- Fudenberg with his team contacted next-of-kin and also conducted autopsies
- The 64-year-old shooter killed himself before the police could reach him
- Fudenberg among 420 employees taking voluntary retirement to cut costs due to budget issues brought about by COVID-19
Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg, who led the identification of victims after the deadly Vegas shooting in October 2017, is set to retire after serving nearly 30 years.
He headed the office that handled notifications, autopsy, and investigations. 58 people were killed in the October 2017 outdoor music festival. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak praised the Coroner for his ‘deep sense of professionalism and compassion.’
Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Clark County Commission chairman, termed Fudenberg as ‘one of the heroes of that horrific event.’
At the time of the event, Sisolak was the Clark County Commission chairman and together with Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Fudenberg fielded media questions. Kirkpatrick was a member of the commission.
58 deaths over 800 injuries
Fudenberg with his staff of around 100 would reach out to next-of-kin and proceed to conduct autopsies of victims from over 15 US states and Canada. The autopsies determined that all 58 people died of gunshots.
An additional 413 people sustained gunfire wounds and the police reports that over 450 more people sustained injuries while trying to flee bullets that rained from the upper-floor windows of a Vegas high-rise casino. The shooter would then kill himself before the police reached him.
The shooter, according to the police and the FBI, was a 64-year-old high-stakes video poker player and former accountant that had an arsenal of military-style weapons and had carefully planned the attack. The authorities theorized that the gunman may have sought notoriety but lacked evidence to prove so.
Speaking to the Sun, 51-year-old Fudenberg stated that the journey had been ‘amazing’ proceeding on to state that he would take a voluntary retirement offer. He also said that he looked forward to driving with his daughter this fall after his last day in office on August 7.
The Coroner began his career in 1991 in Las Vegas as a corrections officer. He would then rise to become a Las Vegas city marshal and later a No. 2-ranking administrator in the medical examiner’s office. He would later be named coroner in 2015.
A county spokesman who spoke to Las Vegas Review-Journal stated that Fudenberg among other 420 employees had decided to take the voluntary retirement to cut costs on the budget affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While speaking to Review-Journal in 2018, Fudenberg said that they were the ‘last of the first responders’. He said that after the police, firefighters, and hospitals are done, they now take charge.
Recalling the day, Fudenberg says that the crowd of 22,000 attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival ‘vanished suddenly’ and all he could see was food on grills, scattered cellphones, overturned chairs, and empty party cups being blown.
A year-long public records battle was also pointed out by the Review-Journal between the county and the newspaper on the release of Fudenberg’s autopsies.
While the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the autopsies were public records, the court also stated that some ‘sensitive and private information’ would be withheld by the coroner.
Asked about the legal battle, the outgoing coroner declined to comment and said he just wanted to ‘keep it positive.’