At least 58 people are dead and more than 515 people are injured after a man opened fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Social media has been inundated with videos from the horrific scene.
Police now say it’s the worst mass shooting in modern US history. 49 people were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in June of 2016, the previous most deadly shooting in modern American history.
The shooting started around 10:08pm local time Sunday night in Vegas. A possible motive for the mass murderer has not been released. The shooter has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada. CBS News is reporting that Paddock has had no prior contact with law enforcement, which is strange. Typically mass killers have had at least one prior incident with police, whether it’s domestic violence or any other number of crimes.
Video from the Mandalay Bay Hotel shows people fleeing the concert after the shots began. Many witnesses described confusion as the shots first rang out, with some people believing it was simply fireworks.
Paddock, who lived in a retirement community, reportedly broke a window in the 32nd floor in order to carry out his attack on the people below. He was able to reload multiple times, according to witnesses, as the crowd heard a burst of 30 shots at a time. CBS News is reporting that Las Vegas Police used explosives to gain access to the hotel room before killing Paddock.
Police are searching for a woman who was allegedly traveling with him, Marilou Danley. She’s described as 4 feet 11 inches tall and 111 pounds. Police have described the dead man as the “primary aggressor” and Danley is now simply being sought as a person of interest.
Police are also interested in locating two vehicles, a Hyundai Tucson Nevada with license plate number 114B40 and a Chrysler Pacifica Nevada with license plate number 79D401.
“There has been multiple conjecture coming through social media that there’s multiple shooters at other resorts, that has been proven to be false,” Sheriff Joe Lombardo said at a press conference. “Additionally there has been accusations or beliefs of explosives going on, that is also false.”
Country singer Jason Aldean was on stage at the Route 91 Harvest concert when the shooting began. Many people tried to shelter in place, laying on the ground as they were unsure of where to go. Others started running, despite the fact that most people had no idea where the shots were coming from, as the shooter was on the 32nd floor of the nearby hotel.
Aldean posted a photo to Instagram after the attack with the words “pray for Vegas” and a message to fans.
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. 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
During the shooting, Las Vegas Police asked concertgoers not to share information about tactical positions of officers because it put the police force in danger.
As is pretty common after any mass shooting in the United States, internet sleuths believe they have identified the shooter. [Update: The shooter has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, not the man who internet sleuths identified.]
Snapchat videos posted to YouTube show concertgoers talking directly to their phones describing the situation as shots can still be heard.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police have asked for anyone with video of tonight’s shooting to bring that video to police headquarters.
Update, 6:31am: Witnesses describe a scene where Paddock was shooting for at least 4 minutes before police were able to stop him.
Witnesses also describe the crowd staying calm for the most part in an effort to keep people from getting trampled.
Update 6:37am: Buzzfeed has a good running tally of all the hoaxes that are emerging on social media in the wake of the shooting. As usual, people are posting random photos purporting to be the shooter as well as other photos of “missing” family members. The internet is the worst.
If you’re trying to locate family members at the scene, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police urge you to call 866-535-5654.
Update 6:51am: Police have reportedly found, Marilou Danley, the person of interest. There are also new reports that Paddock had “numerous” firearms with him in the Mandalay Bay Hotel room before police broke in and killed him.
Update 7:12am: President Trump just tweeted his condolences to the victims of the shooting.
Update 8:58am: The Department of Homeland Security has released a statement about the shooting.
DHS says that there is no credible threat involving other public venues at this time.
Update 9:02am: CBS News interviewed a former Las Vegas police officer who explained that the shooter was found because of the smoke alarms that were going off in his room on the 32nd floor.
“The way the shooter was identified was not through the muzzle flashes. The smoke detector in the room went off from the amount of smoke that came from firing that fully automatic weapon,” the former officer said. “That’s how they were able to close in on him so quickly.”
Update, 9:07am: The Las Vegas police now report that the shooter was in his hotel room since Thursday. They also say that rather than being shot by police he shot himself when police entered the room.
The FBI is also asking for anyone with photos and videos from the concert to call the Las Vegas field office at 1-800-255-5324.
Update 10:30am: President Trump is scheduled to give a statement about the shooting any minute now. The livestream is available on YouTube.
Update 10:36am: ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, without providing any evidence. The group, which has previously laid claim to attacks that it was not responsible for, says that Paddock converted to Islam a few months ago.
From the Associated Press:
The group released two statements on its Aamaq news agency on Monday, hours after the shooting at a country music concert that killed at least 50 people and wounded at least 400.
It did not name the suspected shooter, identified by Las Vegas police as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, but said he had “executed the operation in response to calls to target countries of the coalition” batting the extremist group in Iraq and Syria.
Again, there’s nothing to support their assertions so far.
Update 11:12am: Reuters reports that senior US officials have seen no evidence that Paddock was associated with ISIS in any way.
Update 11:46am: Las Vegas Police now say that at least 58 are dead and more than 515 people have been wounded.
Photos have emerged from the Mandalay Bay Hotel showing two windows smashed out. It’s not yet clear if both windows were smashed so that the shooter had two vantage points to kill people or if one of the windows was smashed by police during the raid.
Update 11:51am: The FBI has also stated definitively that there is absolutely no connection between the shooter and ISIS.
Update 12:12pm: And then there’s this guy.