A gunman turned into a Las Vegas concert into a killing field Sunday night from his perch on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, using at least 10 guns to rain down a continuous stream of fire, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 400 others in the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history.
The defendant, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, was identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a resident of Mesquite, Nevada. Police initially sought a woman thought to be Paddock’s roommate, Marilou Danley, as a “person of interest.” Detectives later made contact with her, and “do not believe she is involved with the shooting on The Strip.”
Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo stated an “excess of 10 rifles” were found in the area, but didn’t immediately reveal a motive. Paddock had been at the hotel room since September 28, according to Lombardo.
Authorities said two Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers were hurt during the shooting. One is in stable condition after surgery, and the other sustained injuries. Two off-duty police officers were murdered.
President Trump said the mass shooting “was an act of pure evil,” and praised first responders in an address to the nation.
“To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you,” Trump said, adding that he will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with first responders and families. .
The gunman, who fired down to the Route 91 Harvest Festival from a room on the floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound as police made entrance to the room, based on LVMPD undersheriff Kevin McMahill.
Federal law enforcement sources told Fox News that Paddock “was known to local authorities” in Vegas, and multiple weapons were found in his hotel room in the gold-colored glass skyscraper.
Federal officials do not see any link to terrorism and little is known about Paddock’s motivation, sources said. The Islamic State terror group took credit for the Las Vegas shooting, stating the gunman converted to Islam weeks ago, but provided no evidence back.
The gunman’s brother, Eric Paddock, told reporters outside his Central Florida home early Monday “an asteroid just fell on us,” and stated Stephen Paddock has no history of mental illness.
Paddock said his brother is “just a guy” and he “freaked,” and had retired to Vegas because he liked gambling.
The Department of Homeland Security said Monday morning that the department is “closely monitoring” and assisting partners investigate the tragedy, but at this time has “no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving other public venues in the country.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with Sheriff Lombardo offering his full support, Department of Justice officials told Fox News.
Sessions said in a statement he met with FBI Director Christopher Wray early Monday morning.
“To the many families whose lives have been changed forever by this heinous act, we offer you our prayers and our promise that we will do everything in our power to get justice for your loved ones,” Sessions said in a statement.
Authorities first received calls about an active shooting at about 10:08 p.m. Country music star Jason Aldean was doing in the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the gunfire erupted.
Aldean performed his song of the evening. Originally, those in attendance said they thought the sound was firecrackers. But since the shots continued, Aldean ceased some concertgoers and singing could be heard yelling to get down.
One witness told KSVN that & ldquo; countless shots was heard by him. ” The gunfire was rapid and confused with firecrackers.
“It sounded like a machine gun,” one vendor told Fox News. “It sounded like more than one machine gun.”
Authorities said law enforcement swarmed the hotel and killed the gunman in a room on the floor. Responding officers used an explosive device to force the door open into the area, law enforcement officials told Fox News.
Country singer Jake Owen, who performed before Aldean, 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.
Some concertgoers stayed behind to offer people around them help.
“Everybody I saw breathing, I aided,” a concertgoer told Fox News.
Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said the music started up again before another round of pops sent the performers ducking for fleeing and cover the stage and ceased.
“It was the craziest stuff I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Yazzie told the Associated Press. “You could hear that the noise was coming from west of us, from Mandalay Bay. You could see a flash- flash- flash- flash.”
Since the 40,000 fans in the audience started to flee, Yazzie took cover and said he saw flashes of light coming from the Mandalay Bay hotel tower high above.
Another concertgoer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the shots sounded like fireworks, and she hid in a sewer.
“It was a horror show,” Ivetta Saldana told the paper. “People were standing around, then they hit on the floor. ”
Retired FBI special agent and former federal FBI spokesman John Iannarelli, who drove past the scene of this event just moments before the shooting happened, told Fox News the massacre was “obviously well-planned.”
Iannarelli added the gunmanexpensive guns and ammunition. ”
Iannarelli noted that FBI and police are going to speak with every friend and relative, and are conducting review of the defendant’s computers and phones.
The FBI is requesting anyone with videos or photos concerning Las Vegas attack to call -LRB-800-RRB-225-5324 or 1-800-CALL-FBI.
The shooting in the sold-out Route 91 Harvest festival was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. People were killed when a gunman opened fire in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016.
Sunday’s shooting came more than four weeks following a suicide bombing in an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people. Nearly 90 people were killed by gunmen motivated by Islamic State terror group in the Bataclan concert hall in Paris during a performance by Eagles of Death Metal at November 2015.
Fox News’ Adam Housley, Jake Gibson, Catherine Herridge, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report
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