Tragedy struck the Las Vegas strip Sunday night when a gunman opened fire on a country music festival near the Mandalay Bay casino.
At least 58 people were killed, while 515 more were injured, making this shooting the deadliest in American history.
Las Vegas Gunman Identified
The gunman has been identified as 64 year-old Stephen Paddock. According to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, Paddock fired shots from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
SWAT units swarmed the source of the shooting and found ten rifles in Paddock’s hotel room. “We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry,” Lombardo said. At that point, the police did not believe that there were any more active gunmen.
Paddock reportedly had no significant prior criminal history, and brother Eric, currently living in Orlando, Florida, told The Orlando Sentinel, “We are completely dumbfounded. We can’t understand what happened.”
In the hours after the shooting, the police had been searching for a woman named Marilou Danley, described as Paddock’s “companion.” Danley was eventually located, out of the country, and therefore not with Paddock when he checked into the hotel, even though he was “utilizing some of her identification.”
Witnesses Describe Las Vegas Shooting
Videos circulating the internet show singer Jason Aldean performing outside at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day event, and stopping abruptly, mid-song, as gunshots began. Aldean reacted to the tragedy on Instagram, referring to the incident as “beyond horrific,” and adding, “It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”
Jake Owen, another country singer who was on stage with Aldean when the shooting began, told CNN, “This shooting was going on for at least ten minutes. It was nonstop."
Witnesses described the scene as surreal and terrifying at the same time. Gail Davis, for example, told the New York Times, “I’ve never been so scared in my life. To have this happen, I can’t wrap my mind around it.”
There were about 22,000 people at the concert.