Some 58 people have been killed and 515 others were injured after a gunman opened fire on an outdoor concert in Las Vegas in the worst mass shooting in modern US history. The gunman, perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on Las Vegas Strip, opened fire on concert-goers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival during a set by country music star Jason Aldean, sparking panic among thousands of people who screamed and ran for their lives.
Isis this afternoon claimed responsibility for the shooting saying that Paddock had recently converted to Islam. According to Isis news agency Amaq they said: ‘The Las Vegas attack was carried out by a soldier of the Islamic State and he carried it out in response to calls to target states of the coalition. ‘The Las Vegas attacker converted to Islam a few months ago.’ Donald Trump this afternoon described the Las Vegas mass shooting as an ‘act of pure evil’.
Swat teams quickly descended on the concert and the casino, and officers used explosives to get into the hotel room and confront the suspect. The gunman, who killed himself at the scene, was identified as Las Vegas resident Stephen Paddock. He was found to have at least 10 guns on him at the time and had been staying at the hotel since September 28. A motive is not immediately clear. US president Donald Trump extended his ‘warmest condolences’ to the victims.
His brother Eric Paddock told Mail Online from his Orlando, Florida, home that the family was ‘dumbfounded’ by what happened. He told the website: ‘He was just a guy. Something happened, he snapped or something.’ US records show Paddock lived in a three-year-old, 396,000-dollar (£297,554) two-bedroom home in the tiny desert community of Mesquite, 80 miles north east of Las Vegas, near the Arizona state border. The house is currently being searched by detectives, Clark County sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters. Paddock is believed to have killed himself before a police SWAT team burst into his room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, where at least 10 ‘rifles’ were found, he added. He said: ‘We have no investigative information or background associated with this individual that is derogatory.
‘The only thing we can tell is he received a citation several years ago, and that citation was handled as a matter of normal practice in the court system.’ Local media said Paddock had also previously lived in Reno, Nevada, California and Florida. He lived in the property in Babbling Brook Court with Marilou Danley, 62, records show. Described as 4ft 11ins and of Asian ethnicity, she was named as his ‘companion’ and initially as a person of interest by police. But Sheriff Lombardo later said she was out of the country at the time and they did not believe she was involved, although Paddock used some of her ID to get into the hotel, where he had been staying since September 28. Heavily-armed police are searching Paddock’s retirement community home in Mesquite that he shared with Marilou Danley who was initially being hunted by police as a person of interest.
Mesquite police chief Troy Tanner said police surrounded and entered the single-family home early on Monday morning local time. Danley was not at the house, he said, and police saw ‘no movement’ inside before serving a search warrant at the home in the Sun City Mesquite retirement community, about 80 miles north of Las Vegas. Detectives from Las Vegas and North Las Vegas were at the scene, near the Arizona state line. In a tweet, Mr Trump offered ‘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 Mr Trump had been ‘briefed on the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas’.
Ms 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’. On Twitter, Prime Minister Theresa May wrote: ‘The UK’s thoughts are with the victims and the emergency services responding to the appalling attack in Las Vegas.’ The Foreign Office said it was in contact with authorities in Las Vegas and that it was ‘ready to help’ any British people affected. A spokeswoman said: ‘Our sympathies are with all those affected by the horrific shooting in Las Vegas.
Who was Stephen Paddock?
The gunman responsible for the worst mass shooting in modern US history is believed to be a grandfather who lived in a remote desert home. Stephen Paddock, 64, was named by police as the perpetrator of the shooting on Sunday night. The Nevada native left more than 50 dead after opening fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival on the Las Vegas Strip. US records show Paddock lived in a three-year-old, 396,000 dollar (£297,554) two-bedroom home in the tiny desert community of Mesquite, 80 miles north east of Las Vegas near the Arizona state border. Local media said he had also previously lived in Reno, Nevada, California and Florida. He lived in the property in Babbling Brook Court with Marilou Danley, 62, records show. He had used her ID in the attack. Described as four feet 11 inches tall, she was named as his ‘companion’ and a person of interest by police, and County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo later said she had been located. Paddock was killed when police blasted their way into his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Mr Lombardo told reporters. Numerous ‘rifles’ were also found in the room, the Sheriff added.
‘Details about the incident are still emerging and we are in contact with Las Vegas emergency services. We are ready to help any British people affected. ‘Any British people in Las Vegas should follow the advice of emergency services, and check the Foreign Office travel advice.’ British tennis star Laura Robson was among those attending the concert. She shared two pictures of herself at the event, wearing a cowboy hat with an American flag emblazoned on it. Asked by a Twitter follower if she was all right, she wrote: ‘I’m okay. We were right there … sounded like fireworks at first then everyone started running.’ She added it had been a ‘scary’ experience. Video of the shooting showed Aldean stopping mid-song after gunfire could be heard.
The gunman then fired another volley, with muzzle flashes visible at the casino as more victims fell to the ground, while others fled in panic. Some said they hid behind concession stands and other crawled under parked cars. Witness Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said the music stopped temporarily when the first shots began. He said the song resumed, 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,’ Mr 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.’ Monique Dumas from British Columbia, Canada, said she was at the concert, six rows from the front of the stage, when she thought she heard a bottle breaking, and then a burst of popping sounds that may have been fireworks.
Deadliest shootings in US history
Pulse nightclub (49 killed): Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, opened fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12 last year. Nearly 50 people were killed and more than 50 others injured. Mateen was shot dead by police and hostages freed. Virginia Tech (32 killed): A 23-year-old student, Seung-Hui Cho, gunned down 32 people before committing suicide at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on April 16 2007. Sandy Hook (27 killed): On December 14 2012, 27 people were shot and killed by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Children aged six and seven were among the victims. Lanza killed himself. His mother was later found dead with a gunshot wound. Texas canteen (23 killed): A total of 23 people were killed in Killeen, Texas, when 35-year-old George Hennard crashed his pickup truck through the wall of a canteen on October 16 1991. California McDonald’s (21 killed): 21 were shot dead by 41-year-old James Huberty who targeted adults and children at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro in California on July 18 1984. Marine tower (around 18 killed): Joseph Whitman, former US Marine, killed around 18 people when he climbed a clock tower at the University of Texas and opened fire on August 1 1966.
She said as she made her way out that it was ‘organised 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 room-mate – Marilou Danley, 62. Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said police believe this was a ‘lone wolf’ attack. Officers 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 also halted.
Hospital emergency rooms were jammed with victims delivered by ambulance. Others loaded the wounded into their cars and drove them to hospitals. Among those killed were two off-duty police officers who were attending the concert and two other on-duty officers were wounded, including one in critical condition, police said. Hours after the shooting, Aldean posted on Instagram that he and his crew were safe, describing the shooting as ‘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. The shooting is the worst mass shooting in modern US history. Forty-nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016.