58 people were killed and over 500 people were injured late Sunday night when a gunman opened fire on a crowd gathered for a country music festival. This is the deadliest shooting in recent US history, surpassing the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016.
According to NBC, the gunman, who was identified by law enforcement officials as Stephen Paddock, took fire on the crowd gathered for Jason Aldean’s performance at the Route 91 Harvest Festival from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. SWAT teams descended upon Paddock’s room in the hotel and found multiple weapons. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told CNN, “We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry.”
Witnesses to the shooting said that the first round of shots sounded like fireworks and that they lasted for an extended period of time, according to the New York Times. Aldean’s band stopped playing only after the second round. Jake Owen, another performer, was standing about 50 feet away from Aldean when the gunfire started. He told NBC News, “It got faster and faster, almost like it was an automatic rifle. At that point, everyone on stage started running everywhere...It wasn’t something that was quick. It was chaos for a pure seven to ten minutes.”
Images from the aftermath of the shooting show chaos and confusion.
Las Vegas police located Paddock’s roommate, Marilou Danley, who they were seeking as a person of interest in the investigation, which is still ongoing. Paddock lived in a retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada. NBC News reports that the incident is not believed to have any connection with “international terrorism.”
We will update this post as more information becomes available.
Update (11:03 a.m. EST): Hours after tweeting his “warmest condolences” to the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas, President Trump addressed the nation with a brief prepared statement from the White House, calling the the shooting “an act of pure evil” and praising the first responders and Las Vegas police for acting so quickly. He’ll visit Las Vegas on Wednesday and the flag at the White House will fly at half-mast in honor of the victims.
Update (2:45 p.m. EST): On Monday morning, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joseph Lombardo updated the number killed from 50 to 58, and said that an additional 515 were injured, according to the New York Times. The post has been updated to reflect the announcement.