At least 50 dead in Las Vegas shooting; cops say gunman ‘killed himself’

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The death toll would make the attack the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
  • The gunman rained down rapid fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel.
  • At least 406 people were taken to area hospitals with injuries.
  • The gunman was not believed to be connected to any terror group

LAS VEGAS: At least 50 people were killed and more than 400 injured when a gunman opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas Strip, raining down bullets from the 32nd floor of a hotel for several minutes before shooting himself dead, according to police.

The death toll, which police emphasized was preliminary, would make the attack the deadliest mass shooting in US history, eclipsing last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando night club.

Some 22,000 people were in the crowd when the man opened fire, sending panicked people fleeing the scene, in some cases trampling one another, as law enforcement officers scrambled to locate and kill the gunman. Shocked concertgoers, some with blood on their clothes, wandered the streets after the attack.

At least 406 people were taken to area hospitals with injuries, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said.

Police identified the gunman as area resident Stephen Paddock, 64, and said they had no information yet about his motive. Paddock shot himself before police entered the hotel room he was firing from.

Earlier reports indicated that Paddock, who had more than 10 rifles in his hotel room, had been shot by police.

Paddock was not believed to be connected to any militant group, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.

“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said. “We’ve located numerous firearms within the room that he occupied.”

Authorities had earlier regarded Paddock’s roommate as a person of interest, but later on Monday said they no longer regarded her as related to the case.

The dead included one off-duty police officer. Two on-duty officers were injured, including one who was in stable condition after surgery and one who sustained minor injuries. Police warned the death toll may rise.

Police are still finding people who had taken cover during the attack.

‘Just kept going on’

Video taken of the attack showed panicked crowds fleeing as sustained rapid gunfire ripped through the area.

“It sounded like fireworks. People were just dropping to the ground. It just kept going on,” said Steve Smith, a 45-year-old visitor from Phoenix, Arizona, who had flown in for the concert. He said the gunfire went on for an extended period of time.

“Probably 100 shots at a time. It would sound like it was reloading and then it would go again,” Smith said. “People were shot and trying to get out. A lot of people were shot.”

Las Vegas’s casinos, nightclubs and shopping draw some 3.5 million visitors from around the world each year and the area was packed with visitors when the shooting broke out shortly after 10 p.m. local time (0400 GMT).

Mike McGarry, a 53-year-old financial adviser from Philadelphia, was at the concert when he heard hundreds of shots ring out.

It was crazy – I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good life,” McGarry said. The back of his shirt bore footmarks, after people ran over him in the panicked crowd.

The shooting broke out on the final night of the three-day Route 91 Harvest festival, a sold-out event attended by thousands and featuring top acts such as Eric Church, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean.

‘We’re horrified’

The suspected shooter’s brother, Eric Paddock, said the family was stunned by the news.

US President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the victims via a post on Twitter.

“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” Trump said.

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