At least 58 people are dead and more than 515 injured after a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel on a crowd at a country-music concert in Las Vegas last evening, in the deadliest attack on U.S. soil since the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. of September 11, 2001.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department police tweeted at 10:38 p.m. local time that they were “investigating reports of an active shooter” near the Mandalay Bay Casino, asking people to steer clear of the area.
An estimated 22,000 people were attending the three-day, open-air Harvest Festival country-music concert at the Mandalay Bay Casino, owned and operated by MGM Resorts International MGM, -5.57% on the Vegas strip.
As country star Jason Aldean was performing, a succession of shots rang out, wounding and killing many in the audience.
Joseph Lombardo, the sheriff of the Las Vegas police department, said the shooter opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort. The shooter is dead, and the authorities are not looking for any others.
Authorities said that at least 58 people were confirmed dead and that more than 515 people had been hospitalized.
Scenes of panic surfaced on social media, with users posting videos and photos of people fleeing the scene as a barrage of bullets rained down.
Some concertgoers mistook the prolonged gunshots for fireworks, creating confusion until the crowd realized it was gunfire coming from above.
Other images shared showed injured individuals lying on the ground.
Off-duty law enforcement officers were among the dead, Lombardo said.
The ”Lone Wolf” gunman was identified by Lombardo as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock from Mesquite, Nevada.
Officers engaged with Paddock on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay, Lombardo said. A SWAT team used an explosive to gain access to his room, but Paddock had already killed himself, he said. There were at least 10 guns in the room.
Officers have also entered his primary residence in Mesquite, where local police said they have no record of any contact with him.
The police have no idea at present what motivated the attack and have not found any links with terror or military groups, or found “anything unusual” in his background.
They emphasized that he was a lone shooter and that there is no further threat at this time. The incident is the deadliest in modern U.S. history and caused more deaths than the 49 killed at a nightclub in Orlando, in June of 2016.
“We do not know what his belief system was at this time. We believe he is the sole aggressor at this point and the scene is static,” Lombardo said.
The police said they had spoken to the suspect’s companion, Marilou Danley, who they said is outside of the U.S.
Danley is not believed to have been involved in the attack.
MGM said in a Twitter message sent by Mandalay Bay Resort that law enforcement and emergency officials acted quickly and that hotels in the area were on lockdown to keep guests safe. Mandalay Bay Resorts said its thoughts were with the families of the victims:
“It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night,” said country-music singer Jason Aldean, who was on the stage when the shooting broke out:
President Donald Trump tweeted about the incident and later said it was an act of “pure evil”:
Trump will visit the city on Wednesday.