Mass Shooting on Las Vegas Strip: 50 Dead, 200 Wounded at Country Music Festival
At least 50 people have been killed and 200 wounded after a gunman opened fire on a country music festival with a fully automatic weapon Sunday night.
The shooting started just as Jason Aldean began his show at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival.
Videos posted on social media show Aldean singing as very rapid gunfire begins in the background. He can be seen running from stage as he, and the thousands in the crowd, realized what was happening.
One off-duty officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, who was attending the concert, is among the dead, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters early Monday.
Witnesses reported that a gunman continued to rain bullets on the terrified audience for up to two hours. The victims took the short pauses while the shooter reloaded to run to safety, according to NBC News. Many were trapped in the concert venue as police searched for the gunman.
Police SWAT officers killed the shooter – identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada – after finding him on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino, Lombardo said.
“Right now we believe it’s a solo act, a lone wolf attacker,” Lombardo told reporters early Monday. “We are pretty confident there is no longer a threat.”
The gunman has not yet been officially identified.
Aldean called the scene “horrific,” but said he was safe in an Instagram post early Monday.
“Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still dont know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe. My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight,” he wrote. “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’s wife Brittany posted a message on Instagram early Monday saying, “We are safe… our angels were definitely watching over us tonight. No words for what happened… Just horrific. Praying for everyone.”
Witness Ivetta Saldana told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “It was was a horror show. People were standing around, then they hit the floor.”
Robyn Webb, who was at the concert with her husband, told the newspaper, “It just kept coming. It was relentless.”
Authorities are searching for a 62-year-old woman named Marylou Danly, whom they call the gunman’s roommate. She is being called a person of interest in the investigation.
NBC reports that police have searched a home in Mesquite, Nevada, 85 miles from Las Vegas. It’s believed the gunman lived there with Danly.
Country star Jake Owen has just finished his set and was still on stage when the shooting started. He told the Today show that he ran off the stage and ducked for cover.
“I was crouched down behind a cop car. There was blood on people and you could see a couple of people in the streets that looked like they had been shot,” he said.