A gunman opened fire on an outdoor country music concert near Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino late Sunday, killing at least 58 people, injuring more than 500 and sending the Las Vegas Strip into chaos, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The massacre is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. An off-duty Las Vegas police officer attending the concert was among the victims. Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said officers determined the gunshots were coming from a room on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay complex.
As officers stormed the room, Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nv., shot and killed himself. Officers found 10 firearms in the room. Police believed that Marilou Danley, 62, described as Paddock’s “companion,” was not involved in the shooting. Paddock’s brother, Eric, who lives near Orlando, Fl., told the Orlando Sentinel, “We are completely dumbfounded. We can’t understand what happened.” Paddock told the Review-Journal that his brother lived a quiet life in retirement in Las Vegas, frequently playing slot machines and video poker on the Strip. “It’s like an asteroid just fell on top of our family,” he said.
The attack came during the last performances on the final night of the three-day Route 91 country music festival, which has been held for the past four years on a 15-acre lot across from Mandalay Bay. Gunfire from an automatic weapon rang out while Jason Aldean was onstage. Concertgoer Ivetta Saldana, who was there with a friend, said the shots sounded like fireworks. She hid in a sewer. “It was a horror show,” she said. “People were standing around, then they hit the floor.” One responding officer was critically injured, and another had minor injuries, police said. At one point police were investigating reports of active shooters at other Strip properties. Those reports turned out to be false.
President Trump called the shooting an “act of pure evil” and praised the first responders, the Associated Press reports. The president will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with first responders and families of victims.
Randy Sutton, a former Las Vegas police officer, told CBS that, “The shooting went on for somewhere in the area of 15, 20 minutes, so that interfered with getting the first responders into the area.” He said the gunman planned the “horrific shooting immaculately,” adding that, “When you look at what his field of fire was, the way that he prepared himself by having multiple firearms, by having the ability to have enough ammunition to rain down hell on those poor innocent people that were doing nothing except enjoying themselves,” The Hill reports.