Authorities said a gunman sitting on the 32nd floor of the Strip Casino unleashed shots at the open-air country music festival below, killing at least 59 people while about 22,000 in attendance shouted and fled for their lives. It was the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history.
Metro police said at least 527 people were injured.
Joseph Lombardo, Clark County Police Chief, said Special Forces officers and hotel guards approached the gunman’s hotel room in Mandalay Bay and a security guard was hit by the door in the leg. The Special Forces then used explosives to break into the room and found that the gunman had killed himself. Authorities identified him as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, from Mesquite.
Clark County Sheriff’s Assistant Todd Fasullo said the number of firearms found in the two-room Paddock Suite had risen to 23.
While filing a SWAT arrest warrant at the gunman’s Mesquite home, investigators found 19 additional firearms, several thousand ammunition, some explosives, and unidentified electronic devices they were looking for.
In the late afternoon, officers in Northern Nevada were attempting to infiltrate the other suspect’s home, being careful not to stumble upon potential traps.
Fasolo said MGM Resorts International was coordinating to provide free rooms to victims and their families in Bellagio and transportation via Southwest Airlines. The company has been working to obtain crisis advisors for guests, employees and vendors. The Circus Circus provided space for the American Red Cross.
It was not immediately clear how many people had died from gunshot wounds, as victims were transported with injuries ranging from shrapnel to das. Greg Cassel, head of the Clark County Fire Department, told a news briefing in the late afternoon that the victims were “injured in one way or another.” Some were injured jumping on fences.
Pathologist John Wodenberg said that, Clark County Coroner office personnel picked up every body from the scene and took it to the examiner’s office, which had enough space to hold 60 bodies.
He said, “Everyone in this room, every person in this district now, is suffering as a result of this tragic accident.”
In a short interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Paddock’s brother, Eric Paddock, said he could not understand what happened and was “totally shocked” by the shooting. He also said that he made a statement to the police.
Lombardo said the police believed the shooting was a “lone wolf” attack but were looking for his 62-year-old live-action girlfriend, Marilo Danley, for questioning. Lombardo said the police will speak with her upon her arrival from Tokyo.
Lombardo said the gunman may have attended the “Life is Beautiful” concert in downtown Las Vegas last month.
Dozens of police cars swept through the strip after authorities received reports of active gunfire near the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Concert participants reported seeing muzzle flashes from the upper floors of Mandalay Bay and the sound of what they described as automatic cannon fire.
Patrick Martin, a resident of Southern California, who was at the concert with his wife and son, said, “All I heard was a lot of ‘bang, bang, bang,’ and everyone hit the ground, and everyone started running.
“We heard some pops, then it stopped. Then it came back suddenly, and people started going down,” said Corinne Lomas, who was also at the concert.
Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said he and his girlfriend were watching country singer Jason Aldean perform when he heard what seemed to be fireworks. The music paused and started again before another round of pops pushed the actors to take cover and flee the stage.
Al-Yazi said that thousands fled as gunfire was heard for more than five minutes.
The authorities have not specified the motive for the shooting. But the FBI Special Agent, Aaron Ross, said that authorities have not identified any link to any international terrorist group.
“I cannot get into a mentally disturbed mind,” Lombardo said.
In a televised address to the nation, President Donald Trump described the attack as an “act of pure evil.”
Trump said hundreds of people are mourning the loss of a loved one today. “We cannot understand their pain. We cannot imagine their loss.”
Trump praised the Metro Police for their quick response, which he described as a “miracle.” He said he would travel to Las Vegas to meet police, first responders and families of the victims. He also ordered flags to be raised over half of the employees.
As events unfolded on Sunday, some police officers who returned fire hid behind their cars while others with assault rifles ran into Mandalay Bay.
Lombardo said social media reports of shootings at other resorts and explosions in the strip were untrue. The only explosion, he said, was by the Special Forces officers as they entered the room the shooter was shooting.
Eyewitnesses said they saw multiple victims and dozens of ambulances near the concert venue.
“We were watching the concert having a great time, and then we heard what sounded like fireworks,” said witness Joe Betz. “I think it was an exploding automatic weapon but it literally looked like a firecracker.”
“Then there was soon turmoil on the Mandalay Bay side of the stage. They were asking the paramedics to come and the safe people to come and Jason Aldean ran off the stage,” he said. “It was a mess.”
Hours after the shooting, Aldean posted on Instagram that he and his crew were safe and said the shooting was “extremely terrifying”. He said, “It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”
Another witness, Monique Dumas, said that she was “thinking it was fireworks, but then you realized it was not the case because people were squatting and screaming. We just wanted to stay together so we were holding hands and running together. Then all the time we heard the shooting.” The fire was slowing down and continuing to run. “
Candice La Rosa, 48, from Huntington Beach, California, said she also believed the shooting was part of a fireworks show. “We were all dancing, we were having fun, and suddenly I heard all these shots,” said La Rosa. “It was just mass blood everywhere.”
Gabe Allen, who identified himself as a restaurant manager from Boise, Idaho, said a friend who was standing arm’s length from him was shot in the knee by what appeared to be automatic shooting from Mandalay Bay.
Waiting for him outside the Sun Rise Hospital and Medical Center, where his friend was being treated, Allen said he initially thought the bullets were fireworks, but when the second burst of shots erupted, it became clear that the crowd was under fire. He videotaped much of the violence on his phone – the clip lasted about five minutes.
Allen said he began trying to help people who were injured, including a man bleeding badly from the head. He said it looked like the man was dead, so he moved on to help the other injured.
When asked how he was emotionally handling the tragedy, Allen said, “I’m honestly not feeling anything at the moment. It was so surreal.”
Allen was one of the many festival-goers who flocked to the Sunrise, some of whom were bleeding and taken to hospital by private cars.
With at least 59 deaths, a total that could rise, the shooting is already the worst in US history. The deadliest accident previously occurred in June 2016 at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed.
“Our hearts and prayers are to the victims of last night’s shooting, their families, and those still fighting for their lives,” said Jim Morin, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, which owns Mandalay Bay. We work with the law. Law enforcement and we will continue to do everything we can to help all concerned. “
Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak gave assurances that Las Vegas is safe and said that he and Lombardo created a GoFundMe account to handle the flood of calls from individuals wanting to help victims and their families.
Governor Brian Sandoval said the community was in desperate need of blood and encouraged locals to donate at United Blood Service sites.
He said Nevadan was “angry, mournful and confused” about the attack. “It is clear that this is an unprecedented event in the history of our nation, and we must learn from this,” he said.
Officials opened the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV as a shelter for people who were stranded after the concert or who were unable to return to their hotels.
After the police searched their bags, people were provided with blankets, water and snacks. Many sat in the yard benches, while others lay on the ground and tried to sleep.
Raymond Certiza, who works for the Mirage, said he heard Thomas & Mack was being used as a shelter, so he grabbed snacks and phone chargers from home and turned for help. He was walking around handing out Pop-Tarts and other snacks to people and driving two people back to their hotels in the northern Gaza Strip.
Other people also delivered food and clothes. “Whatever we can do, we have to do,” said Certiza.
Authorities shut down part of Las Vegas Boulevard and Interstate 15, and most casinos in the strip used to let people out but only allow hotel guests in. Some flights to McCarran International Airport have also been diverted due to the shooting. At 1 pm, the strip on Tropicana Street and Russell Road reopened, as well as Frank Sinatra Street and Reno Street behind Mandalay Bay.
Officials said Clark County schools will open their doors on Monday, but any students affected by the accident will be exempted from absence. Officials said some buses were expected to be delayed due to road closures.
UNLV spokesman Francis McCabe said the university will open its doors for classes on Monday. Maccabi advised students, faculty, and staff to allow extra time to travel around the school and to park away from the Thomas & Mack Center.
In Mesquite, police closed the street leading to what is believed to be Paddock’s home on Monday. Located in a retirement community for ages 55 and up.
Mesquite Sgt. Tracy Fails was among the law enforcement authorities shutting down the entrance, and he said he did not expect to be moved anytime soon while the investigation was underway.
He said, “It’s a quiet place.” “People will be very nervous.”
Tracy said the neighborhood is privately owned, and that he imagines the department can continue to deny entry to the community even after the home has been searched.
Paddock is listed on county records as the owner of the home, built in 2014. The total taxable value of the property is listed at $ 353,266. It was last listed for sale in January 2015, and its last selling price was $ 369,022.
Resident Tom Jennings said his next-door neighbor has met Paddock several times, noting that most people in the retirement community keep to themselves.
He said, “It’s extraordinary.” “It’s very annoying. … a very normal guy … People who met him said he was just a very nice guy, the average type.