MAt least 58 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in a shooting Sunday night at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.
Las Vegas Metro Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo confirmed the casualty toll in a press conference.
Country music star Jason Aldean was performing Sunday night at the end of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival when the gunman opened fire across the street from inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. SWAT teams quickly descended on the concert and the casino, and officers used explosives to get into the hotel room where the suspect was inside, authorities said.
The shooter, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire on the concert from a window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino across Las Vegas Boulevard, Lombardo said.
It was the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
Lombardo said Paddock, a resident of Mesquite, Nevada, killed himself before police officers entered his hotel room and that despite eyewitness accounts to the contrary, there were no additional shooters.
“Reports on social media of multiple shooters or of a bomb threat are false,” Lombardo said, noting that police wouldn’t speculate as to a motive in the attack, which he described as a “lone wolf” shooting.
He said tthat officers had located a woman by the name of Marilou Danley, who was described as Paddock’s roommate and a person of interest, who was out of the country at the time of the shooting.
Dozens of patrol vehicles descended on the Strip after authorities received reports of an active shooter near the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Aldean was in the middle of a song when the shots came rapidly: Pop-pop-pop-pop. Video of the shooting then showed Aldean stopping and the crowd getting quiet as if they were unsure of what had just happened. The gunman paused and then fired another volley of muzzle flashes from the gold glass casino as more victims fell to the ground while others fled in panic. Some said they hid behind concession stands and other crawled under parked cars.
Witnesses spoke of hundreds of rounds being fired from automatic weapons.
Concert-goers reported seeing muzzle flashes from the upper floors of the hotel and the sound of automatic gunfire.
EYEWITNESS: Chilling footage of moment active shooter opened fire on concert goers near Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas pic.twitter.com/7OfAwg0ReO
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) October 2, 2017
Witnesses said they saw multiple victims as they fled the gunfire raining down on the venue.
Some later huddled in the basement of the nearby Tropicana hotel and casino.
Some officers took cover behind their vehicles while others, carrying assault rifles, ran into the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
A concert-goer said he heard what sounded like fireworks while he was watching the performance.
Thirty-six-year-old Kodiak Yazzie said the music stopped temporarily and started up again before another round of pops sent the performers ducking for cover and fleeing the stage.
As the 40,000 fans in the crowd began to flee, Yazzie took cover and said he saw flashes of light coming from the Mandalay Bay hotel tower high above.
The bursts of pops would start and stop for more than five minutes. He said he saw dozens of ambulances as he ran for safety.
“Someone said, ‘Hit the floor’ so everyone was literally laying on top of each other trying to keep out of the way,” another eyewitness told CNN through tears. “The shots just kept coming, and so we were going down and when we got down there was a man that was shot right there. They were trying to take him out. He was all bloody and unconscious. One of my friends was helping him out and they got him out.
“Everybody’s hiding everywhere. They’re hiding under the bleachers and the stands, wherever they could, and everyone is telling us to run, run as fast as you can. My husband and I ran out to our car and there were people hiding underneath my car,” she continued. “And there was a gentleman who was shot, and he said, ‘Can you help me,’ and so I put him in my car. I had six people in my car. People without shoes, just running to get away.”
— CNN International (@cnni) October 2, 2017
Jose Baggett, 31, a Las Vegas resident, said he and a friend were in the lobby of the Luxor hotel-casino — directly north of the festival — when people began running. He said people were crying and as he and his friend walked away, they encountered police checkpoints where officers were carrying shotguns and assault rifles.
“There were armored personnel vehicles, SWAT vehicles, ambulances, and at least a half-mile of police cars,” he said.
Officials transported people on buses from the Strip to a nearby venue to get them away from the scene.
Authorities shut down part of the Las Vegas Strip and Interstate 15.
All planes were temporarily grounded at Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport after the shooting, and some flights destined for Las Vegas were diverted. Later, limited flight activity resumed.
Aldean, the country music star, said the scene at his concert was “beyond horrific.”
“I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe,” he said in an Instagram post. “My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight.”