At Least 59 Dead, Over 520 Injured in Las Vegas Music Festival Attack

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Concertgoers flee the area in Las Vegas where more than 50 people were killed by a gunman who police say positioned himself on a high-rise hotel building with automatic weapons and opened fire on the crowd.  (David Becker/Getty Images)

Updated 3 p.m. Monday

LAS VEGAS — A gunman perched high on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino unleashed a shower of bullets on an outdoor country music festival below, killing at least 59 people as thousands of concertgoers screamed and ran for their lives, officials said Monday. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said 527 injured were taken to local hospitals.

SWAT officers using explosives stormed the gunman's room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and found he had killed himself, authorities said.

The gunman was identified by Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, a town 75 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Lombardo said officers "located numerous firearms within the room" Paddock had occupied since checking in last Thursday.


Two officials familiar with the investigation say authorities found at least 17 guns in the hotel room.

Paddock also had two devices that attach to the stocks of semiautomatic firearms to allow fully automatic gunfire. These 'bump-stock' devices have attracted scrutiny in recent years from authorities.

Asked about the motive for the attack, Lombardo said: "I can't get into the mind of a psychopath at this point."

The sheriff said a check of federal and state databases showed Paddock was not on law enforcement authorities' radar before the attack.

The owner of a Utah gun store said Paddock visited the store several times this year and bought a shotgun after passing a background check.

Dixie GunWorx owner Chris Michel said Paddock bought the shotgun in February and last visited the store in St. George, Utah, in the spring. It's a 40-minute drive from where Paddock lived in Mesquite, Nevada.

Michel said he chatted with Paddock to make sure there were no signs that he shouldn't be allowed to buy a gun.

"There were no red flags," Michel said. "I had no idea he would be capable of this."

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Eric Paddock, a brother of the identified gunman, had made a statement to police.

“We are completely dumbfounded,” he said. “We can’t understand what happened.”

In a statement delivered at the White House, President Trump called the attack "an act of pure evil." He said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday and ordered flags on federal facilities to be flown at half-mast.

"We pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from fear," the president said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said there was no "specific credible threat" involving other public venues in the United States.

In the Mideast, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack and said the gunman was "a soldier" who had converted to Islam months ago. But it provided no evidence, and the Los Angeles Times quoted Aaron Rouse, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Las Vegas field office, as saying federal authorities had found no ties between Paddock and outside groups.

"We have determined, to this point, no connection to an international terrorist group," Rouse said.

Country music star Jason Aldean was performing at the end of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival in front of a crowd estimated at 22,000 when the gunman in the 44-floor Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino apparently used a hammer-like device to smash out windows in his room and then opened fire on the crowd massed below, authorities 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 they were unsure of what had just happened. The gunman paused and then fired another volley. Members of the audience struck by the fusillade fell to the ground while others fled the scene or sought cover behind bleachers, concession stands or 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."

Thousands in the crowd fled as the bullets ran rampant. 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.

Concertgoers carry a person wounded Sunday night during sniper attack on outdoor music festival near the Las Vegas Strip. (David Becker/Getty Images)

Police shut down the usually busy Las Vegas Boulevard and authorities across the state and federal ranks converged onto the scene as dozens of ambulances ferried those struck by gunfire. Nearby Interstate 15 and flights at McCarran International Airport were briefly closed. Hospital emergency rooms were jammed with victims delivered by ambulance. Others loaded the wounded into their cars and drove them to hospitals.

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, a Democrat whose congressional district includes a portion of Las Vegas, visited a hospital were some of the victims were taken and said: "Literally, every single bed was being used, every single hallway was being used. Every single person there was trying to save a life."

Jose Baggett, 31, of Las Vegas, said he and a friend were in the lobby of the Luxor hotel-casino — directly north of the festival — when people began to run, almost like in a stampede. He said people were crying and as he and his friend started walking away minutes later, they encountered police checkpoints where officers were carrying shotguns and assault rifles.

"There were armored personnel vehicles, SWAT vehicles, ambulances, and at least a half-mile of police cars," Baggett said.

Deadliest Mass Shooting in Modern U.S. History Unfolds in Las Vegas

Deadliest Mass Shooting in Modern U.S. History Unfolds in Las Vegas

Among those killed were two off-duty police officers who were attending the concert. Two on-duty officers were wounded, including one who underwent surgery and was upgraded to stable condition early Monday, police said.

Hours after the shooting, Aldean posted on Instagram that he and his crew were safe and said the shooting was "beyond horrific."

"It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night," Aldean said.

President Trump took to Twitter early Monday to extend condolences: "My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!"

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was "briefed on the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas."

Sanders said that "we are monitoring the situation closely and offer our full support to state and local officials. All of those affected are in our thoughts and prayers."

The shooting at the sold-out Route 91 Harvest Festival was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Forty-nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016.

A cowboy hat lies in the street after a music festival crowd fled amid a fusillade of gunfire Sunday night. Police say more than 50 people were killed and 200 wounded in the attack. (David Becker/Getty Images)