The Las Vegas Shooting Revealed: The Telling Facts Behind a Massive Tragedy
A gunman opened fire at a Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas. The suspect shot and killed at least 58 people, wounding more than 500 others in the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. Police shot and killed the suspect, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. Here’s a quick look at eight key points we know so far.
1. Shooting represents deadliest in modern U.S. history
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released a statement, following the attack. Paddock opened fire on a crowd of more than 22,000 concert-goers from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on Sunday evening at approximately 10:08 p.m. The victims were across the street attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert when bullets rang out.
Police estimate more than 500 people were taken to area hospitals after the shooting. Authorities did not immediately clarify how many were wounded by gunfire or injured in resulting panic. Las Vegas SWAT officers found Paddock dead in his hotel room when they responded to the call.
Some bystanders compared the shooting to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando in June 2016. The death toll surpasses that one so far, which reached 49 when the gunman opened fire on a crowded nightclub. He later credited the Islamic State with inspiration for the attack.
Next: Police apprehended the suspect in his hotel room.
2. Multiple weapons found at the scene
The Las Vegas SWAT team burst into Paddock’s hotel room, according to a police statement. Officers found at least eight weapons, including multiple long rifles, in his room on the 32nd floor. Las Vegas Police Undersheriff Kevin McMahill told CNN Paddock died during the apprehension.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said they do not suspect any terror group ties. “Right now, we believe it’s a sole actor, a lone-wolf-type actor,” Lombardo said. Paddock lived in Mesquite, Nevada. A search of his home, about 80 miles from Las Vegas, was underway as of press time.
Next: Relatives respond to the shooting.
3. Brother shocked at what happened
The Central Florida-based brother of Paddock said he was “completely dumbfounded” by the incident.
Eric Paddock, who lives east of Orlando, told the Orlando Sentinel that he made a statement to police.
“We are completely dumbfounded,” he said. “We can’t understand what happened. I can’t imagine. When you guys find out why this happened, let us know. I have no idea whatsoever.”
Police had been searching for a person of interest, but have called off that investigation. “[previous suspect] Marilou Danley is no longer being sought out as a person of interest,” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said. “LVMPD detectives have made contact with her and do not believe she is involved with the shooting on the strip.”
Next: Witnesses describe the horrific scene.
4. Victims called venue ‘a kill box’
“It sounded like a thousand shots,” Michelle Leonard, a vendor, told ABC News. The shooting just “kept going nonstop.” The victim described chaos, as the shooting went on for what she described as 16–20 rounds.
“I turned around and I looked and people just started running,” she said. “People were just running and falling and screaming.”
Another witness, Jake Freeman, said he was standing on a nearby hotel rooftop when the shooting started. “I had a bird’s-eye view,” Freeman told ABC News. He saw “crowds of people running” as people “dropped to the ground.
“At the moment we didn’t realized that they were being shot,” he added. Jason Aldean, performing during the incident, ran from the stage, along with fellow performer Jake Owen. Owen told CNN, “It was like shooting fish in a barrel.”
Next: Festival performers responded to the tragedy.
5. Headliners heartbroken at what happened
“This is not an exaggeration: The shooting was going on for at least 10 minutes,” Owen said. “It was nonstop.”
Aldean reported the safety of himself and his crew on Instagram, after the chaos. “My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night. #heartbroken #stopthehate,” he wrote.
SiriusXM Country radio host Storme Warren said he hid on the side of the stage when the shots began.
“I thought it was fireworks going off and maybe it mis-triggered, and then it happened again. And when it happened the third time, we knew something was wrong,” Warren said.
The host heard “more than 50 shots fired and probably in the hundreds. The shells were hitting the deck of the stage when I was on it,” he told CNN. He could still hear the shells as he went under the stage for protection.
Next: Analysts consider the weapon.
6. Paddock likely used a military-grade rifle
The shooting sounded like a military gun, according to CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano.
“Automatic weapon(s) like that — had to be numbers of magazines or a very large drum. It sounded to me like a belt-fed weapon, a military-style weapon and then to be shooting down, to use the analogy, it was like shooting fish in a barrel in that space,” the expert said.
Next: How to tell if loved ones were affected.
7. Social media responds to the tragedy
“Pray for Las Vegas,” the city’s mayor, Carolyn Goodman, tweeted. “Thank you to all our first responders out there now.”
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said on Twitter that a “tragic & heinous act of violence has shaken the #Nevada family” and offered prayers to all those affected by “this act of cowardice.”
President Donald Trump sent his condolences in a tweet.
“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” he wrote. Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted about the “senseless violence.”
“The hearts & prayers of the American people are with you. You have our condolences and sympathies,” he tweeted. “To the courageous first responders, thank you for your acts of bravery,” he added. Mandalay Bay, who owns the venue, tweeted out a statement. It said, “Our thoughts & prayers are with the victims of last night’s tragic events. We’re grateful for the immediate actions of our first responders.”
Next: How you can help.
8. Want to help? Here’s How
Police urged families looking to locate missing loved ones to call 1-866-535-5654. Facebook also set up a crisis response page to help people determine whether their loved ones are safe.
According to Business Insider, concerned citizens can donate to victims via GoFundMe. Steve Sisolak, the Clark County Commission chair from Las Vegas, has set up a verified GoFundMe donation page to help victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
Sisolak donated the first $10,000 and initially set the goal at $500,000. Within three hours, over $600,000 poured in. The campaign goal has been increased to $2 million.
The National Compassion Fund will accept donations as well. All funds raised go directly to victims.
People in the Las Vegas area can donate blood to participating hospitals and clinics. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Twitter account is continually updating its page with locations in the Las Vegas area that are accepting blood donations. It also helps to donate blood wherever you are, even if you’re not in Las Vegas.
While it does not help the victims of this tragedy, you can help prevent the next one. This article from The Huffington Post explains how to contact your elected officials.
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