Mass shooting at Mandalay Bay concert in Las Vegas kills 59
A lone shooter rained death along the Las Vegas Strip, killing 59 people and injuring 527 more when he opened fire on an outdoor concert from his 32nd floor hotel room.
The mass shooter, who took his own life, sprayed gunfire down on the helpless and panicked crowd of 22,000 for five terrifying minutes from a perch in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, according to one witness.
The Sin City carnage became the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, eclipsing the 2016 killing spree that left 49 dead at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
“It was an act of pure evil,” declared President Trump, who plans a Wednesday visit to Las Vegas.
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Country music fans scrambled for their lives beneath the massive Vegas hotel as Jason Aldean performed on the last evening of the three-night Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Killer Stephen Paddock unleashed his unrelenting attack at 10:08 p.m. as the night of music ended suddenly to a soundtrack of automatic weapon fire.
“Panic ensued,” survivor Joseph Ortunio told CNN on Monday afternoon. “It was like a war zone. People were just dropping to the ground and running.”
Ortunio said he and a friend who took a bullet to the shoulder scaled a 10-foot fence to escape the gunfire. The wounded woman was expected to recover, he said.
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Paddock had converted his hotel room into a lethal armory, smuggling 18 to 20 guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition inside after checking in last Thursday, authorities said.
An analysis of the shooting video showed Paddock fired a staggering 280 rounds in one 31-second span.
SWAT teams descending on Paddock’s home about 90 minutes outside Las Vegas recovered 18 additional firearms, explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo.
Paddock used at least one fully automatic rifle, allowing continuous gunfire with one pull of the trigger, The Wall Street Journal reported. Federal law restricts the use of the deadly weapon.
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Music fan Monique Dumas, sitting in the sixth row of the Sunday night show, said the constant automatic weapon fire initially sounded like fireworks before the crowd realized they were under assault.
“Organized chaos,” the Canadian tourist said of the fleeing audience. “It took four to five minutes, and all that time there was gunfire.”
Screaming concertgoers bolted for the exits, tripping over one another in terror as Paddock, 64, fired down as if shooting fish in a barrel.
Horrific footage of the attack showed scores of people, some covered in blood, left on the grass while others in cowboy hats and blue jeans cowered close to the ground.
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Mass shooting at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
Mike McGarry, a Philadelphia financial advisor at the show, wore a shirt with footprints on its back after he was trampled by people bolting from the outdoor venue.
Authorities warned the numbers of dead and wounded were likely to rise as the day went forward.
The sound of weapon fire rang out as Aldean stood singing at the microphone. Both the music and the shooting came to a brief halt before Paddock started opened fire a second time.
“It was the craziest stuff I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” said concert survivor Kodiak Yazzie, 36. “You could hear the noise was coming from west of us, from Mandalay Bay. You could see a flash-flash-flash (of muzzle fire).”
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Federal authorities provided no immediate motive for the Mesquite, Nev., man’s rampage, but shot down an ISIS spokesman’s claim that Paddock was one of the terror group’s “soldiers.”
“We have determined to this point no connection to an international terrorist group,” said FBI Special Agent Aaron Rouse of the Las Vegas office.
ISIS responded with a second communique that identified the typically apolitical Paddock as “Abu Abdul Barr al-Amriki,” describing him as a martyr for the Islamic cause.
Paddock likely acted alone, according to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo. After searching the sprawling hotel floor-by-floor, police blasted open the door to Paddock’s room and found him dead.
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Reports indicated that smoke from Paddock’s furious firing set off alarms that were still ringing inside the room when law enforcement arrived.
Paddock actually rented two rooms in the hotel, making his stand in the one overlooking the concert venue more than 1,000 feet away, said Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak.
Lombardo said local, state and federal authorities had no previous interactions with Paddock until he snapped inside the hotel room.
Hotel workers who were in and out of Paddock’s room over the last four days “saw nothing at all” hinting at such a rampage, said Lombardo — adding he was unable to explain what set the killer off.
HEAR IT: Audio of cops breaching Stephen Paddock’s room released