At least 50 dead, 200 injured at shooting on Las Vegas Strip, police say

Monday October 2 2017


Washington Post .A gunman in a high-rise hotel opened fire on concertgoers at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 200 in one of the worse mass shootings in modern U.S. history.

The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, was later killed during a standoff with police, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.

The sniper-style gunfire rained down from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino around 10 p.m. local time, police said. Police said they confronted the gunman shortly after on the hotel's 32nd floor.

Police believe Paddock, a local resident, was a "lone wolf" attacker. He did not give further details.

The gunman was previously known to local police for past run-ins with law enforcement, according to people familiar with the investigation. Recordings of the attack suggest the suspect used an automatic weapon.

The shooting occurred at the end of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music concert held over the weekend that reportedly drew 30,000 attendees. The concert grounds are adjacent to Mandalay Bay. The shots began as Jason Aldean, one of the final performers, was playing.

The attack was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since a gunman believed inspired by the Islamic State targeted an Orlando nightclub in June 2016, killing 49 people.

Lombardo urged witnesses to turn over "any cellphone video" that might assist authorities. The FBI is also involved in the investigation.

"It's a devastating time," Lombardo said at a news conference early Monday. "We have responded to the scene, and we're doing the best we can to provide safety to the survivors."

A witness to the shooting, Ivetta Saldana, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Aldean was rushed offstage when the shots rang out. "It was a horror show," she said. "People were standing around, then they hit the floor."

Aldean posted an Instagram message that he and his crew were safe. The scene, he wrote, was "beyond horrific."

Videos posted to Twitter from people claiming to be witnesses showed people screaming and running for cover amid the sound of gunshots. The shooting continued intermittently for more than five minutes, according to the Associated Press.

"The gunfire never ended, it seemed like," concert attendee Rachel Dekerf told CNN. "It just went on and on and on."

Police converged on the area and blocked off roads. Some officers took cover behind squad cars as other officers ran into the casino, the AP reported.


About 50 people were taken to University Medical Center, a spokeswoman said in an email to The Washington Post. Two of the patients died, and several are in critical condition, she said.

Among the more than 100 injured was an off-duty officer with the Bakersfield Police Department in Southern California, who was taken to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, according to a news statement. Several of the department's officers were off-duty and attending the concert when the gunfire erupted.

Multiple flights bound for the McCarran International Airport were diverted because of the shooting, the airport tweeted. All other planes were temporarily grounded, with a few flights resuming Monday morning.

The Route 91 Harvest Festival has been held for the past four years on a 15-acre lot across an intersection from Mandalay Bay. The concert's main stage is situated near the northeastern side of the gold-colored casino and high-rise hotel complex, which towers more than 400 feet above the Strip.

Three hours after the shooting, Aldean said in an Instagram post: "My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night."

Security measures at many music venues have been boosted in recent years after concerts have been hit by terrorism strikes.

In May in northern England, a bomb exploded at a concert by American singer Ariana Grande in Manchester, killing 22 people in an attack carried out by the suspected Islamist militant. In Paris, Islamist attackers opened fire at a rock concert in November 2015 as part of coordinated attacks that left 130 dead.