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Ricardo Torres

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Strip's Eiffel Tower dimmed; Las Vegans gather at candlelight vigil

14 Nov 2015

By Ricardo Torres
The High Roller wheel shined blue, white and red, and the replica Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas emulated the Parisian original and dimmed its lights after deadly terrorist attacks at the French capital Friday.

And a small group of Las Vegans gathered in the southwest valley for a moment of silence Friday night.

Attackers killed at least 120 people at restaurants, bars and a concert hall, according to CNN.

Las Vegas' Eiffel Tower will remain dimmed and the High Roller at The Linq Hotel & Casino will continue to be lit in blue, white and red, like the French flag, in solidarity all night, a Caesars Entertainment Corp. spokeswoman said.

Nevada officials are on alert, but no changes to security were apparent Friday.

Metro's Homeland Security Division is monitoring the attacks like they do "whenever there is a terrorist attack anywhere in the world," spokesman officer Larry Hadfield said. "At this time, there are no known threats to the Las Vegas areas, but we are in vigilant mode." Police are also working with the Strip resort's "security partners," he said.

The terror alert, which was code "bravo" prior to the attacks, remained the same through the afternoon, Nevada National Guard spokesman Sgt. 1st Class Erick Studenicka told the Review-Journal. Bravo is in the middle of the terror alert chart and means there is a "significant risk of terrorist attacks," according to Homeland Security.

McCarran International Airport, which doesn't have direct flights to or from Paris, is on "high alert all the time," airport spokesman Chris Jones said.

Members of Las Vegas' secular community met at The Slammer, a spacious house undergoing a transformation into a community center, in the southwest valley.

The air was chilled and dozens of lit candles sat on the grass in the form of the number 153, an early estimate of the number of people killed in the attack. A picture of the Eiffel Tower was projected on a screen and pizza was available.

Kevin Breen, of the United Church of Bacon and Sunday Assembly, said organizers wanted to provide a venue where everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs, could gather to reflect and "show their love for the world and humanity."

Breen said a couple of dozen people showed up for the candlelighting and moment of silence.

"It warms my heart to see people coming together in times like this," he said.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, through an email statement, said he ordered the Department of Public Safety and its officer of Homeland Security to "monitor the situation" and has requested "continuous updates."

"My heart is broken by the tragic news of today's horrific attacks in Paris," he said in the statement. "As Americans, this is a time of the year when we reflect on all that we are grateful for, and today's tragedy should remind us that life is precious, and that each day we are given with our loved ones is truly a blessing."

About 100 of those killed died at the crowded Bataclan concert hall where the California band "Eagles of Death Metal" was scheduled to play, Reuters reported.

Explosions could be heard from the TV broadcast as the French and German national soccer teams faced each other in an international match.

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