LAS VEGAS, NV– Over 50 people are confirmed dead and more than 400 confirmed wounded after a shooter opened fire at a Las Vegas country music festival on Sunday night.
Police say the suspect, Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, died as a result of a self inflicted gun shot wound after committing the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. It was initially reported that Paddock was killed by law enforcement, but Las Vegas police later clarified that he was dead by the time police raided his room.
Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Paddock is believed to have checked in as a hotel guest, before setting up a “sniper’s nest” in preparation for the shooting.
The shooting occurred as approximately 22,000 gathered to attend the concert festival headlined by Jason Aldean, who was performing on stage when the first shots initially rang out at approximately 10:08 p.m.
Investigators have confirmed numerous firearms, including multiple long rifles, were located in the room occupied by Paddock, which was located on the 32nd floor. The suspect is believed to have opened fire from the balcony of the room.
“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,” said witness Meghan Kearney told MSNBC (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/las-vegas-police-investigating-shooting-mandalay-bay-n806461/). “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.”
Aldeen issued a statement on Monday in response to Sunday night’s tragedy, saying his heart was hurt by the violence.
“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” he said on Instagram. “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.”
Country singer Jake Owen, who also performed at the concert, told Fox News the gunfire was “non-stop.”
“You couldn’t tell where it was coming from. It was loud and non-stop,” he said (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/10/02/las-vegas-shooting-at-least-50-dead-more-than-400-sent-to-hospitals-in-massacre.html).
A White House spokesperson said President Trump was briefed on the shooting in the early hours of Monday morning.
“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” the president tweeted in response to the massacre.
A companion of Paddocks, identified as Marilou Danley, was initially identified by police as “a person of interest in the case but was later cleared of any wrongdoing.
A motive for the attack has not yet been confirmed. When asked whether or not he believed the attack was tied to foreign terrorist groups Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Sheriff’s Department said: “No not at this point” adding, “We believe we have a lone wolf suspect.”