SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California residents affected by the mass shooting in Las Vegas are being encouraged to apply for help from the state.
The California Victim Compensation Board announced that victims of violent crimes and their immediate families can be eligible for financial assistance.
“If we can relieve any of the traumatic feelings they’re going through, that’s what we want to do,” said Julie Nauman, California Victim Compensation Board executive officer.
The trauma people experienced during Sunday’s deadly shooting is beyond the imaginable and this program is an effort to ease some of that pain.
Sacramento residents Lisa and Chip Schau survived the massacre and are grateful to be back home safe, but they say the images and sounds they heard continue to haunt them.
“I was physically frozen, with complete fear like I’ve never felt before,” said Lisa.
Like thousands of others, the Schaus were enjoying their final day of the Las Vegas music festival when the shots rang out.
“He looked at me and grabbed my hand, and he said ‘do you do trust me?’ He said ‘we need to get up and we need to run,'” said Lisa.
And they ran, breaking down fences to get out with masses of people — many injured and bloodied following right behind them.
“The sight of that blood, I just couldn’t function anymore, and if he wasn’t there I wouldn’t be able to move,” she said.
“I was trying to do everything I could to get her out of there. That was my goal, to get her out,” said Chip.
Good Samaritans helped the couple and dozens of others escape without any physical injury. But emotionally, the impact is very much real.
“Emotionally, I think we have been changed for the rest of our lives,” said Lisa, holding back tears.
Sunday night’s mass shooting also puts many at risk for post-traumatic stress.
And now the compensation wants people to know there’s a state program to help.
“It’s available to provide the kind of help we know victims can use, and we want people to make applications,” said Nauman.
Victims who suffered serious trauma can be eligible for compensation for counseling services, medical and dental costs, expenses to cover funeral burials — even lost income up to about $70,000 a person.
Last year, they got 52,000 applications and provided over $53 million in compensation to crime victims.
“Even if they haven’t incurred any expenses right now…maybe down the line they may want counseling services, or have other costs they can’t anticipate right now,” said Nauman.
For many of the victims, it’s about taking it one day at a time. Chip and Lisa are still wearing their festival bracelets in honor of the lives lost. They say they’re grateful to the officers, first responders and all the strangers who stepped up and risked their lives that night.
“If it wasn’t for somebody going into that hotel and shutting it down when they did, the way those bullets ricocheted, it would have been a lot worse,” said Chip.