50 Dead, 200 Injured at Mass Shooting In Las Vegas
A gunman in a high-rise hotel opened fire on concertgoers at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 200 in one of the worst mass shootings in modern U.S. history.
The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, was later killed during a standoff with police, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters. NBC and others reported that Paddock was 64.
The carnage surpassed the death toll of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub when a gunman believed inspired by the Islamic State opened fire in June 2016.
The sniper-style gunfire in Las Vegas rained down from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino around 10 p.m. local time, police said. Police said they confronted the gunman shortly after on the hotel’s 32nd floor.
Police believe Paddock, a local resident, was a “lone wolf” attacker. He did not give further details. A search was underway for a woman described as the suspect’s “traveling companion,” he added.
The gunman was previously known to local police for past run-ins with law enforcement, according to people familiar with the investigation. Recordings of the attack suggest the suspect used an automatic weapon.
The shooting occurred at the end of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music concert held over the weekend that reportedly drew 30,000 attendees. The concert grounds are adjacent to Mandalay Bay. The shots began as Jason Aldean, one of the final performers, was playing.
Lombardo said authorities were searching for a woman named Marilou Danley. The sheriff said authorities were also looking for two cars, a Hundai Tuscon and a Chrysler Pacifica Touring, both with Nevada plates.
He urged witnesses to turn over “any cellphone video” that might assist authorities. The FBI is also involved in the investigation.
“It’s a devastating time,” Lombardo said at a news conference early Monday. “We have responded to the scene, and we’re doing the best we can to provide safety to the survivors.”
A witness to the shooting, Ivetta Saldana, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Aldean was rushed offstage when the shots rang out. “It was a horror show,” she said. “People were standing around, then they hit the floor.”
Aldean posted an Instagram message that he and his crew were safe. The scene, he wrote, was “beyond horrific.”
Videos posted to Twitter from people claiming to be witnesses showed people screaming and running for cover amid the sound of gunshots. The shooting continued intermittently for more than five minutes, according to the Associated Press.
“The gunfire never ended, it seemed like,” concert attendee Rachel Dekerf told CNN. “It just went on and on and on.”
Police converged on the area and blocked off roads. Some officers took cover behind squad cars as other officers ran into the casino, the AP reported.
About 50 people were taken to University Medical Center, a spokeswoman said in an email to The Washington Post. Two of the patients died, and several are in critical condition, she said.
Among the more than 100 injured was an off-duty officer with the Bakersfield Police Department in Southern California, who was taken to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, according to a news statement. Several of the department’s officers were off-duty and attending the concert when the gunfire erupted.
Multiple flights bound for the McCarran International Airport were diverted because of the shooting, the airport tweeted. All other planes were temporarily grounded, with a few flights resuming Monday morning.