More than 50 people are now known to have died after they were gunned down by an automatic rifle during a concert in Las Vegas. The largest mass shooting in U.S. history also left more than 200 people injured – however, both figures are expected to rise.
Las Vegas Metro Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said: ‘We are looking at in excess of 50 individuals dead and of 200 individuals injured at this point.’ Police today identified Stephen Paddock, 64, as the gunman. He was shot dead by police in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino where he aimed his gun at people enjoying themselves at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Police said it is not believed he belonged to any militant groups and described it as a lone wolf attack. Sheriff Lombardo said that multiple firearms were found in his room after officers managed to gain entry.
Marilou Danley, 62, had been sought by police after gunfire tore through the crowd at the outdoor event during a set by country music star Jason Aldean. Concert-goers reported seeing muzzle flashes from the upper floors of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino across Las Vegas Boulevard from the music festival and the sound of what they described as automatic gunfire. Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said he and his girlfriend were watching country star Jason Aldean’s performance when he heard what sounded like fireworks.
The music stopped temporarily and then started up again before another round of pops sent the performers ducking for cover and fleeing the stage. Thousands fled as bursts of gunfire could be heard for more than five minutes, Mr Yazzie said. Witnesses said they saw multiple victims and dozens of ambulances near the concert venue. Some attendees later huddled in the basement of the nearby Tropicana hotel-casino.
Officers carrying assault rifles ran into the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Authorities shut down part of the Las Vegas Strip and Interstate 15. Flights were temporarily halted at McCarran International Airport because of the shooting, the airport said on its verified Twitter account. Country music star Jason Aldean took to social media to say he and his crew are safe after the shooting. Aldean was in the middle of his performance when shots were fired into the crowd. He posted on Instagram hours later, calling the incident ‘beyond horrific’.
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. ‘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.’ It is now confirmed as the worst mass-shooting in U.S. history