— Suspected “lone wolf” shooter was killed by police on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino
LAS VEGAS — A gunman perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino unleashed a shower of bullets on an outdoor country music festival, killing at least 50 people as tens of thousands ran for their lives, officials said Monday.
It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
More than 400 victims were taken to the hospital, authorities said.
Country music star Jason Aldean was performing Sunday night at the end of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival in front of a crowd of 22,000 when the gunman opened fire from inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
The gunman was identified as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada.
SWAT teams quickly descended on the concert and the casino, and officers used explosives to get into the hotel room where the suspect was inside, authorities said.
“What we are going to try to do as best we can is to get our first responders back on their feet and responding and conducting a proper investigation to ensure that we have the safety of this community at heart,” Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.
Aldean was in the middle of a song when the shots came rapidly: Pop-pop-pop-pop. Video of the shooting then showed Aldean stopping and the crowd getting quiet as if it were unsure of what had just happened.
The gunman paused and then fired another volley, the muzzle flashes visible from the casino, as more victims fell to the ground while others fled in panic. Some hid behind concession stands, while others crawled under parked cars.
Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said the music stopped temporarily when the first shots began and the tune even started up again before the second round of pops sent the performers ducking for cover and fleeing the stage.
“It was the craziest stuff I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Yazzie said. “You could hear that the noise was coming from west of us, from Mandalay Bay. You could see a flash- flash- flash- flash.”
As the bullets ran rampant, thousands in the crowd fled in every direction. Couples held hands running through the dirt lot. Faces were brushed with shock and confusion, tears and screams. Some were bloodied and others were carried out by fellow concert-goers.
Monique Dumas from British Columbia, Canada, said she was at the concert, six rows from the stage, when she thought she heard a bottle breaking, and then a burst of popping sounds that may have been fireworks.
She said as she made her way out, it was “organized chaos” as everyone fled. “It took four to five minutes and all that time there was gunfire.”
In addition to Paddock, police said they located a woman who may have been his roommate — Marilou Danley, 62. Lombardo said they believe this was a “lone wolf” attack.
“It’s a devastating time,” Lombardo said.
More details and photos available at CNN.com.
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