Las Vegas shooting: 59 dead, 500+ hurt in Mandalay Bay shooting
|LAS VEGAS: October 2, 2017. A gunman perched high on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino unleashed a shower of bullets down on an outdoor country music festival below, killing 59 people
|and leaving more than 500 injured as thousands of frantic concert-goers screamed and ran for their lives, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Monday. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
President Trump called the attack "an act of pure evil" and said the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are working with local authorities in the investigation. Mr. Trump spoke with Nevada's governor and the mayor and sheriff of Las Vegas, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. Mr. Trump held a moment of silence for the victims Monday afternoon and will travel Wednesday to Las Vegas.
Aaron Rouse, the FBI special agent in charge in Las Vegas, said investigators found "no connection with an international terrorist group" during a press conference earlier Monday.
Late Monday evening, officials held another press conference and announced that there are no known threats in the Las Vegas area, according to Las Vegas Asst. Sheriff Todd Fasulo.
Authorities said loved ones or friends can call 1-800-536-9488 to report anyone missing in the wake of the fatal shooting.
Country music star Jason Aldean was performing Sunday night at the end of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival when the gunman opened fire across the street from inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino.
SWAT teams quickly descended on the concert and the casino, and officers used explosives to get into the hotel room where the suspect was inside, authorities said.
The gunman was found dead at the scene and was identified by Lombardo as Stephen Paddock, 64, from Mesquite, Nevada. Investigators are still trying to discern Paddock's motive.
During a Monday evening press conference, authorities announced they recovered at least 19 firearms in Paddock's hotel suite. They found 23 additional firearms, some explosives and several thousand rounds of ammunition in his home in Mesquite, Nevada.
Earlier, officials said they discovered ammonia nitrate in his vehicle.
Lombardo said investigators believe some of Paddock's rifles were modified to full automatic, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives hadn't evaluated them yet.
Paddock brought the weapons into the hotel himself and used "a device similar to a hammer" to break the window, Lombardo said.
Officials said Paddock shot and killed himself before a SWAT team breached the door.
The U.S. Homeland Security Department says there is no "specific credible threat" involving other public venues in the U.S. after the shooting.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed on Monday that Paddock was acting on behalf of the group, but offered no evidence. The terror group said in a statement released by its pseudo-news agency Amaq, citing anonymous sources, that Paddock converted to Islam several months ago and carried out the attack "in response to calls to target states of the coalition" battling ISIS
U.S. officials dispute ISIS' claim, telling CBS News there are no signs that Paddock had ties to radical Islamic groups or showed signs of being radicalized.
Lombardo said Paddock was not known to law enforcement in Las Vegas.
His brother, Eric Paddock, told reporters Monday that the gunman was a multimillionaire who made much of his money investing in real estate.
He said his brother was an accountant for many years and he wasn't aware of him having financial difficulties.
Aldean, the performer, was in the middle of a song when the shots came rapidly: Pop-pop-pop-pop. Video of the shooting then showed Aldean stopping and the crowd getting quiet as if they were unsure of what had just happened. The gunman paused and then fired another volley of muzzle flashes from the gold glass 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.
Gail Davis, who was at the Las Vegas outdoor country music concert Sunday night, witnessed the terrifying scene.
"We went there to see Jason Aldean," she said. "We were standing, like, maybe halfway up. He came on and about 20 to 10, he sang about five songs and all of a sudden we heard about three or four little pop, pop, pops, and everybody looked around and said, 'Oh, it's just firecrackers.' And then we heard pop, pop, pop, and it just kept going and going, and my husband said, "That's not firecrackers. That sounds like a semi-automatic rifle.' And then everybody started screaming and started to run.
"I looked over to my right where this girl had been standing right beside me, and she had fallen -- first, she stood there and she grabbed her stomach and she looked at her hands and her hands were all bloody, and she was wearing, like, a little crop top and, you know, blue jean shorts and cowboy boots, and she looked at her hands and her hands were bloody, and she just kind of screamed and she just fell back."
Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said the music stopped temporarily when the first shots began and the tune even started up again 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," 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."
Thousands in the crowd fled as the bullets ran rampant. Monique Dumas from British Columbia, Canada, said she was at the concert, six rows from the stage when she thought she heard a bottle breaking, and then a burst of popping sounds that may have been fireworks. She said as she made her way out, it was "organized 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 connected to Paddock. Marilou Danley, 62, was overseas at the time of the shooting and has spoken to authorities. Police said Danley was not believed to have been involved.
"It's a devastating time," Lombardo said.
Police 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 briefly closed. Hospital emergency rooms were jammed with victims delivered by ambulance. Others loaded the wounded into their cars and drove them to hospitals.
Jose Baggett, 31, of Las Vegas, said he and a friend were in the lobby of the Luxor hotel-casino -- directly north of the festival -- when people began to run, almost like in a stampede. He said people were crying and as he and his friend started walking away minutes later, they encountered police checkpoints where officers were carrying shotguns and assault rifles.
"There were armored personnel vehicles, SWAT vehicles, ambulances, and at least a half-mile of police cars," Baggett said.
Among those killed were two off-duty police officers who were attending the concert. Two on-duty officers were wounded, including one who underwent surgery and was upgraded to stable condition early Monday, police said.
Hours after the shooting, Aldean posted on Instagram that he and his crew were safe and said the shooting was "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 prompted reactions from politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington and around the country.
Mr. Trump said the nation must stay unified. He said that although "feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that binds us today and always will."
"In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one. And it always has," Mr Trump said Monday morning at the White House. "Our unity cannot be shattered by evil" and "our bonds cannot be broken by violence."
Mr. Trump also issued a proclamation ordering flags be flown at half-staff until sunset Oct. 6.
The proclamation covers flags at the White House and all public buildings, military posts, naval stations and naval vessels throughout the U.S. and all territories. It also extends to embassies, military facilities and other sites overseas.
At the daily White House briefing on Monday afternoon, Sanders, the press secretary, said now is not the time to talk about gun control.
"There's a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country," Sanders said. She said Mr. Trump is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise says he agrees with Mr. Trump that the shooting was "an act of pure evil."
Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, returned to the Capitol last week after he was shot and critically wounded in June as he and fellow Republicans practiced for a congressional baseball game. Scalise said he prays for the victims of the shooting and that the whole nation grieves with their loved ones.
Scalise encouraged people across America to stand together in solidarity to support the Las Vegas community, "especially by giving blood and encouraging others to do the same. In the face of unspeakable evil, our whole nation must respond with countless acts of kindness, warmth and generosity."
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said it's time for Congress to do something about mass shootings. Murphy, a leading gun-control proponent, said mass shootings had become an "epidemic" in America.
He said "it is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren't public policy responses to this epidemic."
Other Democrats condemned the shooting but did not specifically urge gun-control legislation. Action in the Republican-controlled Congress is unlikely.
House Speaker Paul Ryan ordered flags over the Capitol lowered to half-staff and said "the whole country stands united in our shock, in our condolences and in our prayers."