At Least 50 Dead, 200 Wounded In Shooting At Las Vegas Country Music Festival

Ed Mazza
At Least 50 Dead, 200 Wounded In Shooting At Las Vegas Country Music Festival

At least 50 people were killed and 200 wounded after a gunman opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas late Sunday night, police said. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Stephen Paddock, 64, shot at thousands of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. Authorities later killed Paddock in the hotel room.

Lombardo described Paddock as the “sole aggressor” in the attack but said that officials are seeking his companion, a woman named Marilou Danley. Paddock had a home in Mesquite, Nevada, about 80 miles from Las Vegas, police there said.

The gunfire interrupted singer Jason Aldean’s performance, the final act of this weekend’s Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event attended by tens of thousands of people. Aldean and his crew were unharmed, he said in an Instagram post, calling the incident “beyond horrific.”

The shooting was the third attack on a major music event in recent years. Last year, 22 people were killed at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K. and in 2015, 90 people died in a suicide attack during a performance by the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan theatre in Paris.

Witnesses described frantic concertgoers running for their lives as intermittent rounds of bullets rained down on the crowd. Many thought the pops were coming from fireworks. 

“The concert was going on and we heard what sounded firecrackers going off,” one witness, Megan Kearny, told NBC News. “All of a sudden we heard what sounded like a machine gun and people just started screaming that they were hit and to get down, and about every 20 seconds after that you would hear a round of machine guns, and people just dropping, hundreds of bodies over the ground.”

Joseph Ostunio told the Las Vegas Review Journal that he and his friends “heard shots ring out and we thought they were fireworks so we stayed. And then all of a sudden they just kept coming and coming.”

Ostunio said he realized something was wrong after Aldean abruptly left the stage.

“The shots just kept coming,” another witness told KLAS. “Everybody’s hiding everywhere, they’re hiding under the bleachers, and the stanchions, and anywhere they could. And everyone’s telling us to run, run as fast as you can.”

Multiple off-duty police officers were shot at the concert, including one from the Bakersfield Police Department in Bakersfield, California, authorities said. Lombardo said that multiple officers died. The Bakersfield officer’s injuries were not life-threatening.

People flee from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after gunfire was heard. 

University Medical Center said it took in 50 patients from the scene, including  at least two who died. At least 12 of the victims were listed in critical condition. Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center confirmed that it also treated victims but did not offer any details.  

Authorities shut down parts of the Las Vegas Strip and the nearby Interstate 15 highway as they responded to the incident. McCarran International Airport said some flights had been diverted overnight due to the incident and that travelers should expect ongoing delays.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) called the shooting “a tragic & heinous act of violence.”

Several videos posted online contained what sounded like rapid gunfire:

Footage from someone who said he was at the Mandalay Bay hotel appeared to show people running from the event: 

Two of the festival’s performers tweeted about the incident:

Mandalay Bay said in a statement that it was “grateful for the immediate actions of our first responders.”

 

This is a developing story...

 

 

 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.