A gunman fired a barrage of bullets on an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas Sunday night, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 400 others, police said, in the worst mass shooting in modern American history.
From his room on the 32nd floor of a glitzy hotel, the shooter, identified by law enforcement officials as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, fired shot after shot down on the crowd of more than 22,000, sending terrified concertgoers running for their lives.
“We heard what sounded like firecrackers going off. Then all of a sudden we heard what sounded like a machine gun. People started screaming that they were hit… When we started running out there were probably a couple hundred [people] on the ground,” witness Meghan Kearney told MSNBC.
“People kept dropping and dropping… People were getting shot one foot away from us,” she said. “People were trying to save their friends. There were gunshots everywhere. Helping them would’ve meant that we got shot, too.”
- 50 people were killed, an estimated 406 injured in deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
- Gunman identified as Stephen Paddock, 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada.
- Several weapons were found inside Paddock’s room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
- President Donald Trump is monitoring the developments, the White House said.
Officials said it was unclear when Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and whether he had specifically requested a room on a high floor that overlooked the concert venue.
Police responded to reports of the shooting just after 10 p.m. (1 a.m. ET), and fatally shot the suspect in the hotel, officials said.
The shooting is not believed to be connected to international terrorism.
Authorities said they found “multiple” weapons in Paddock’s room after using explosives to enter. It was not immediately clear what kinds of weapons were found.
The shooting started while performer Jason Aldean was onstage, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a news conference.
At least one off-duty Las Vegas police officer was shot, Lombardo said. Several other off-duty police officers are believed to be among the dead and injured.
Police have located Paddock’s roommate, Marilou Danley, 62, Lombardo said. They also found two vehicles related to the investigation: a Hyundai Tuscon and a Chrysler Pacifica Touring, both with Nevada license plates.
A search of their home in Mesquite, located about 80 miles away from Las Vegas, was underway.
Earlier, police shut down the area and urged the public to stay away. Flights in and out of the airport were temporarily halted.
Aldean, who was named the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year in April 2017, was on stage performing on the final night of the three-day Route 91 Harvest festival at the Las Vegas Village when the first shots rang out.
Aldean later said via Instagram that he and his band were safe.
“It got faster and faster, almost like it was an automatic rifle,” Owen said. “At that point, everyone on stage started running everywhere.”
Owen passed by people who were covered in blood and eventually found shelter in his bus. The gunfire still hadn’t stopped by the time he got there, he said.
“It wasn’t something that was quick. It was chaos for a pure seven to ten minutes,” he said.
Witnesses said that the first round of shots sounded like fireworks. Only after the second burst of gunfire did the band stop playing.
“After the second round… everybody hit the ground around us,” concert-goer Sean said on TODAY.
“It seemed like people were hit everywhere.”
Another concertgoer, Jon Bessette, described a scene of “pandemonium” as “the band ran off stage.”
“Everyone was running, people were getting trampled,” he said.
President Donald Trump sent his condolences in a tweet Monday morning.
“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” he wrote.
Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted about the “senseless violence.”
“The hearts & prayers of the American people are with you. You have our condolences and sympathies,” he wrote.
“To the courageous first responders, thank you for your acts of bravery,” he added.
Mandalay Bay tweeted out a statement that said, “Our thoughts & prayers are with the victims of last night’s tragic events. We’re grateful for the immediate actions of our first responders.”
Police urged families looking to locate missing loved ones to call 1-866-535-5654.