Horror in Las Vegas: 50 Dead and 400 Injured at Country Music Festival

Las Vegas Shooting: 50 Dead and 400 Injured at Country Music Festival

The city of Las Vegas is in mourning. At 10 p.m. local time, local police said, a “lone gunman” released a rapid-fire barrage of bullets during Jason Aldean‘s concert, killing 50 people and injuring 400 more; it is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The gunman was later identified Stephen Paddock from Mesquite, N.V.

As police tried to secure the area and locate Paddock, the Las Vegas Strip was temporarily closed, and inbound and outbound flights at McCarran International Airport were briefly halted.

From his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Paddock fired at the crowd of about 22,000, sending concertgoers running for their lives. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters Monday that authorities believe Paddock killed himself before officers entered his room; initially, officials had said police fatally shot Paddock.

Las Vegas ShootingDavid Becker/Getty Image
Paddock is believed to have checked into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Sept. 28, Lombardo revealed during a press conference, and he had an “excess of ten rifles” in his room.

At least one off-duty Las Vegas police officer was among those shot, Lombardo said.

It didn’t take long for police to locate Paddock’s 62-year-old roommate, Marilou Danley. Though they don’t believe she was involved, Lombardo said the investigation is still ongoing. A search of their home in Mesquite, located 80 miles northeast from Las Vegas, is now underway.

Fellow performer Jake Owen said he was standing about 50 feet away from Aldean when the shots began. “It got faster and faster, almost like it was an automatic rifle,” the country artist recalled to NBC News Monday. “At that point, everyone on stage started running everywhere.”

“It wasn’t something that was quick,” Owen said. “It was chaos for a pure seven to 10 minutes.”

Las Vegas ShootingDavid Becker/Getty Images
Aldean’s rep told E! News Monday that the singer and his crew are safe. Aldean was the final musician to take the stage as part of the outdoor Route 91 Harvest Festival at Las Vegas Village.

President Donald Trump is monitoring the developments, the White House said. During a press briefing around 10:30 a.m. ET, he called the attack an “act of pure evil,” saying, “The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are working closely with local authorities to assist with the investigation, and they will provide updates as to the investigation and how it develops. I want to thank the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and all of the first responders for their courageous efforts and for helping to save the lives of so many.” Vice President Mike Pence tweeted about the “senseless violence,” writing, “You have our condolences and sympathies.”

Trump will travel to Las Vegas Wednesday to meet with victims’ families and law enforcement officials. In his closing remarks, the commander-in-chief said, “We pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace, and we pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred and from fear. May God bless the souls of the lives that are lost, may God give us the grace of healing, and may God provide the grieving families with strength to carry on.”

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