Our heart goes out to the victim of the Las Vegas concert mass shooting.
An outdoor country music festival that was recently held in Las Vegas came to an end when a retiree armed with multiple assault rifles strafed the concert from a high-rise hotel window on Sunday.
Dubbed as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the man claimed 59 lives and injured more than 500 people.
The barrage of gunfire came from the 32nd-floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel into a crowd of 22,000 people. Las Vegas’s casinos, nightclubs, and shopping draw some 3.5 million visitors from around the world each year and the area was packed with visitors when the shooting started shortly after 10 pm local time (0400 GMT).
The shower of bullets lasted several minutes as throngs of terrified music fans desperately cowered on the open ground. Those who were at the edge were seen trying to flee the scene.
More than 525 people were reported injured, some by gunfire or shrapnel, some others trampled in the pandemonium adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip.
At least a dozen people were sent to University Medical Center in Las Vegas as they were in critical condition.
The deceased in Las Vegas included a nurse, a government employee and an off-duty police officer.
The gunman identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, took his own life before the police entered the hotel room. He lived in a retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada, and authorities believed that he acted alone, but his motive remains unknown.
Police found that Paddock had no criminal record, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters,
“We have no idea what his belief system was. I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath.”
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the massacre, but U.S. officials said there was no evidence of that.
Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field office in Las Vegas told reporters,
“We have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group.”
CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu said in a separate email:
“We advice caution on jumping to conclusions before the facts are in.”
Aside from Paddock’s lifeless body, police found 16 rifles in the room, some with scopes and some that appeared to have been modified in an attempt to convert them into machine guns.
Lombardo added that Paddock used a “device similar to a hammer” to smash the windows from which he fired in the two-room hotel suite where he had been staying since Thursday. More than 10 suitcases were also found in the suite.
A search of the suspect’s car turned up a supply of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer compound that can be used in explosives. It was used in the 1995 truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that reportedly killed 168 people.
The suspected shooter’s brother, Eric Paddock, said the family was stunned by the news.
“We’re horrified. We’re bewildered, and our condolences go out to the victims.
“We have no idea in the world.”
According to Eric, his brother belonged to no political or religious organizations and had no history of mental illness. Though their father had been a bank robber who for a time was listed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list of fugitives.
Eric described his brother as “a wealthy guy” who liked to play video poker and take cruises and seemed to have been settling into a quiet life when he moved back to Nevada from Florida.
Police found at least 18 additional firearms, some explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition at Paddock’s home in Mesquite, about 90 miles (145km) northeast of Las Vegas, along with “some electronic devices that we are evaluating at this time,” Lombardo said.
Police are on standby in northern Nevada to search a second house connected to Paddock.
Investigators want to interview Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danely who is believed to be in Tokyo at the time of the shooting. She was initially described by police as a “person of interest” but not a suspect.
Christ Sullivan, the owner of the Guns & Guitars gun shop in Mesquite, issued a statement confirming that Paddock was a customer who cleared “all necessary background checks and procedures.”
“He never gave any indication or reason to believe he was unstable or unfit at any time.”
Nevada has some of the nation’s most permissive gun laws. It does not require firearm owners to obtain licenses or register their guns.
The gunfire erupted as country music star Jason Aldean was performing on stage. Video of the attack showed terrified crowds fleeing under rapid gunfire as the shooter took aim from a distance of around 1,050 feet (320m).
45-year-old Steve Smith, visitor from Phoenix, Arizona said,
“People were just dropping to the ground. It just kept going on.
“Probably 100 shots at a time.”
Mike McGarry, a financial adviser from Philadelphia, was at the concert when he heard hundreds of shots.
“It was crazy – I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good life.”
The back of McGarry’s shirt bore footmarks from people who ran over him in panic.
Shares of MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay, fell 5.58% on Monday to $30.77 a share.
Watch some of the videos below.
Terrifying scene as concert goers attend to injured while gunman opens fire at Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/3bisNIjur2
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) October 2, 2017
We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased, our prayers are with you through this hardest time, and we pray for a speedy recovery to those who were injured in the attack.