02-26-2012, 02:09 AM
Ambulances lined the main drive to transport the injured to the hospital. Gurneys bearing burned, bleeding bodies rolled over the fragments of glass and debris through the hole in the wall that was once the main entrance of the Luxor Hotel and Resort. Police set up wooden barricades to keep the public and the media away from the designated crime scene. Firefighters doused the few small fires in the atrium, soaking the carpeting. News cameras jockeyed for the best view of the burned out atrium and for any shots of victims, only to be turned away by the authorities. Flashbulbs flashed like summer lightning as photographers snapped pictures of the ruins and the victims being carried away. Television reporters gave minute-by-minute accounts of the disaster.
One lucky reporter succeeded in cornering Criss Angel for a statement and a photo. Criss gave it in spades. "That (bleeper), whoever he is, almost killed my mother and brother, Costa!" he cried, tears streaming down his face. "He was injured trying to save my mother! He shielded her with his own body, and now he's on his way to the hospital! I know three people died here today, and so help me God I'll..."
His words were cut off by his grief and rage. He turned away from the camera, waving away the reporters. A security guard ran interference, turning the reporter and cameraman away. It hadn't been much of an interview, but it was more than the media expected.
The Luxor bombing was the leading story from local stations to the BBC in London, England. It was still not determined if it was a terrorist attack, but it was reported that the explosion was caused by a pipe bomb under the car, close to the gas tank, and the only witness to step forward was a parking attendant named Matt Behr, a native of South Carolina who came to Las Vegas for work four years ago. He was in the kiosk when the car came barrelling through, striking and killing another valet, Jesse Murdoch, and had crashed though the glass doors and exploded. Behr had also stated that he saw no driver in the car when it crashed through the entrance. Two other victims were killed in the explosion, Gary and Shiela Silverman, who were on vacation with their seven-year-old daughter, Bethany. The child had been safe in their hotel room at the time of the explosion. At the present time, authorities were searching for relatives.
A press conference was held at the Mirage Hotel. The President of the Luxor, Felix Rappaport, fielded any questions about the hotel: All video surveillance tapes were handed over to the police, he stated. No threats had been received about the attack, and repairs would be made to the atrium as soon as possible. He was confident that this was and islolated incident and it would not happen again. In the meantime, security would be tightened and an alert posted for any future attacks on any of the other hotels in the city.
The highlight of the press conference came from Criss Angel himself: "First of all, I'd like to extend my condolences to the families of Jesse Murdoch and the Silvermans, for the loss of their loved ones. To little Bethany Silverman, I'd like to say you are in our prayers and our thoughts. We all love you and will get you safely home, we promise.
"To the Murdoch family, I want to say that Jesse was a fine employee here at the Luxor. He was especially fond of driving my Lambo when I brought it to him to park it or pick it up. His friends told me he had a pitching arm like a rifle, and would have made it in the major leagues if he had the chance. Again, you are all in our thoughts and prayers.
"Eighteen people were seriously injured, one of them my own brother, Costa, who sacrificed his own safety to protect our mother from harm. He was taken to the ER for treatment for glass injuries on his body. He was very fortunate to have sustained minor injuries as he did. Others have suffered worse, with second and third degree burns and other injuries, external and internal. We pray for their recovery and for the comfort of their families in this time of crisis.
"To the person or persons responsible for this crime, I say you can run, but you can't hide. We will hunt you down and bring you to justice. For this reason, I am posting a reward of fifty thousand dollars for any information leading to the capture and conviction of the Luxor Bomber. If anyone within the sound of my voice has any information at all regarding this criminal, please contact the Las Vegas Municipal Police Department immediatly. Thank you."
Criss stepped down from the podium, the members of the press peppering him for more statements in his wake. He waved them off and headed back to his suite.
Carey had watched the whole press conference on CNN in her hotel room. She mulled the details of the crime in her mind:
Fact: There was no driver in the car when it crashed.
Fact: The explosion was caused by a pipe bomb fixed next to the gas tank.
Fact: The bomb exploded the moment it entered the atrium, not on impact.
Theory: Something had to set it off at the right moment. A timing device, maybe? Or a delayed reaction?
Theory: The driver bailed out before the car crashed into the hotel. Were there any witnesses?
Carey's mind boggled at these questions. Someone had to have seen someone drive that car! Someone must have seen something!
She was certain of only one thing: whoever did it was still at large. Yet someone must have seen him! Las Vegas was too densely populated, and with thousands of tourists coming in every day to gamble, for anyone to miss someone driving a car bomb. And with such a large reward, anyone would turn him in to the police in a heartbeat. Hell, for fifty grand, some people would turn in their own mothers! Money didn't just talk in Las Vegas--it gave orders and expected to be obeyed.
Carey rubbed her face wearily. It was late, even by Las Vegas standards. A nice hot bath, a good night's sleep, and everything would be just fine. Let the police do the sleuthing--that was their job, not hers. She could only hope that the police would find a lead about whoever it was who bombed the Luxor come morning.