A lone gunman released a rapid-fire barrage of bullets from a 32nd-floor Las Vegas hotel room late Sunday, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 400 others at an outdoor country music festival, police said.
Worst Mass Shooting in USA
The shooter, who was identified by law enforcement officials as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, fired shot after shot from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino down on the crowd of about 22,000, sending terrified concertgoers running for their lives.
“We heard what sounded like firecrackers going off. Then all of a sudden we heard what sounded like a machine gun. People started screaming that they were hit,” witness Meghan Kearney told MSNBC. “When we started running out, there were probably a couple hundred [people] on the ground.”
She added: “People kept dropping and dropping … People were getting shot one foot away from us. People were trying to save their friends. There were gunshots everywhere. Helping them would’ve meant that we got shot, too.”
Police responded to reports of the shooting just after 10 p.m. (1 a.m. ET). Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters Monday morning that authorities believe Paddock killed himself before police entered his room.
The suspect is believed to have checked into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Sept. 28, Lombardo said, and had an “excess of ten rifles” in his hotel room.
It was not clear whether Paddock had specifically requested a room on a high floor that overlooked the concert venue or whether he had prevented housekeepers from entering his room in the days prior.
The shooting is not believed to be connected to international terrorism. Authorities have not said what kinds of weapons were found.
Former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Bill Young’s 22-year-old daughter was at the concert. Young told MSNBC his daughter said the weapon “sounded like a machine gun” and that she and her friends took cover under a desk.