A lone gunman, operating from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, sent a barrage of automatic fire on a crowd of some 22,000 attending the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a country music event. At around 10 p.m., the time of the incident, the festival’s final performer, singer Jason Aldean, was on stage. He was unharmed.
Up to the press time, nearly 60 people had been killed and more than 500 injured.
The Nevada state incident topped the June 2016 mass murder at nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which took 49 lives, many with Caribbean roots.
According to reports, the Las Vegas gunman, identified as 64-year-old Nevada resident Stephen Paddock, took his own life after police closed in on his hotel room following the shooting incident. He was seen with a woman at some point before the incident, but up to press time police said they had no evidence to determine if Marilou Danley had any role in the shooting.
“(She is) no longer being sought out as a person of interest,” police said in a statement the day after the shooting. “Detectives have made contact with her and do not believe she is involved with the shooting on the strip.”
Witnesses said Paddock left behind a horrific scene, with bodies scattered across the concert area, injured screaming in pain and others frantically scrambling to escape. Law enforcement officers were also horrified.
“This was a day I wish I had never had to see here in my 27 years of law enforcement,” Las Vegas Police Department Undersherriff Kevin McMahill said. “Seeing that scene was probably the most disturbing thing I have had to see in those 27 years.”
An off-duty officer was killed in the shooting. Others were injured. Up to press time the police were still trying to determine the motive for the shooting, although reports indicated that it was not linked to any known domestic or international terrorist groups. Still, the shooting the ire of President of Donald Trump.
“It was an act of pure evil,” Trump said in an address to the nation on Oct. 2.