Las Vegas mass shooting: 59 people dead, 527 injured after gunman opens fire at music festival

LAS VEGAS — At least 59 people were killed during a shooting at an outdoor music festival on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday. Las Vegas metropolitan police said more than 520 people were transported to area hospitals in the wake of the shooting.

The shooter opened fire into a crowd estimated at 22,000 people, police said.

The death toll makes it the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. President Donald Trump said his “warmest condolences and sympathies” were with the victims and their families.

Dozens of patrol vehicles descended on the Strip after authorities received reports of an active shooter near the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Las Vegas police later said one suspect was dead and they did not believe there were any other shooters. Police identified the man as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. He had 10 firearms, investigators said. It’s believed Paddock killed himself.

Later, officials said they found 18 additional firearms at his home in Mesquite, Nevada. They also found explosives and ammunition.

Police urged anyone trying to locate a missing loved one to call 1-866-535-5654.

Concert-goers reported seeing muzzle flashes from the upper floors of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino across Las Vegas Boulevard from the country music festival and the sound of what they described as automatic gun fire.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo says officers confronted the suspect on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay. SWAT teams and officers used explosives to enter the man's room and say he died at the scene. It appeared he took his own life, police said.

Lombardo described the shooting as a “lone wolf” attack. Police say they have not found a connection to any international terrorist organizations.

Among the dead are two off-duty police officers, Lombardo said. Several officers from California were attending the music festival. An off-duty Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer was also killed, police said.

The shooting was first reported around 10 p.m. local time in Las Vegas. Witnesses reported hearing hundreds of gunshots.

Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said he and his girlfriend were watching Jason Aldean's performance when he heard what sounded like fireworks. The music stopped temporarily and started up again before another round of pops sent the performers ducking for cover and fleeing the stage.

Thousands fled as bursts of gunfire could be heard for more than five minutes, Yazzie said.

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," Baggett said.

Witnesses said they saw multiple victims and dozens of ambulances near the concert venue. Some attendees later huddled in the basement of the nearby Tropicana hotel-casino.

Authorities shut down part of the Las Vegas Strip and Interstate 15. Flights were temporarily halted at McCarran International Airport because of the shooting, the airport said on its verified Twitter account.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations is asking for anyone with videos or photos concerning the shooting to call 1-800-CALLFBI or (800) 225-5324.

Aldean released a statement on Instagram after the shooting:

Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that me and my crew are safe. 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s