More than 50 people have been shot dead and more than 500 injured by a lone gunman who fired hundreds of rounds of ammunition during a Las Vegas music festival in the largest mass shooting in US history.
“We determined there was a shooter on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay (Resort and Casino),” Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of Clark County told reporters. “Right now, we believe it’s a sole actor, a lone-wolf-type actor.”
Police identified the gunman as Stephen Paddock, 64, a white male who lived in Mesquite, Nevada. Police believe Paddock killed himself before they entered his hotel room, where officers found a cache of weapons including ten rifles, CNN reports.
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“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Sheriff Lombardo said. “Right now, we believe he was the sole aggressor, and the scene is static.”
Lombardo said police had located a woman, Marilou Danley, whom they initially wanted to speak to in connection to Paddock but that she was no longer a person of interest, the BBC reports. Danley was not with the suspect when he checked into the hotel on 28 September, police said.
Onslaught of bullets
Witnesses described stepping over dead bodies in the panic to flee.
“It sounded like a thousand shots,” Michelle Leonard told ABC News. “I turned around and I looked and people just started running... People were just running and falling and screaming.”
Taylor Benge said she heard “200 to 300” bullets. “My sister, being as noble as she is, threw herself on top of me and said, ‘I love you, Taylor,’” the 21-year-old told CNN. “Even after an hour and 30 minutes, I didn’t know if I was safe.”
President Donald Trump tweeted his “warmest condolences and sympathies” to the victims.
Worst mass-shooting in US history
An off-duty police officer was among the dead, police said.
The gunman struck during an open-air country music concert that drew a crowd of 22,000 to the Las Vegas strip. Witnesses say hundreds of shots were heard over a prolonged period of time, apparently from an automatic weapon, as concertgoers fled.
The shooting - described by NBC as the “worst mass shooting in modern American history” - occurred at around 22:30 (05:30 GMT) at the Route 91 Harvest festival. Video footage posted by The Sun showed concertgoers rushing to take cover.
The city’s famed strip was put on lockdown.
Nearby, at McCarran International Airport, some incoming flights were diverted after reports that people were fleeing the concert by running onto an airport runway, The New York Times says.
According to The Guardian, Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut and outspoken advocate of gun control, said: “Nowhere but America do horrific large-scale mass shootings happen with this degree of regularity.... It’s time for Congress to get off its a** and do something.”
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