Monday 16 July 2018

Las Vegas atrocity: Suspect (64) killed himself in hotel room filled with 10 firearms after 58 people shot dead

  • More than 500 people injured
  • Gunman named as Stephen Paddock who was not previously known to police
  • Shooter's brother says family are 'horrified and bewildered'
  • Shooter opened fire from 32nd floor
  • Footage shows music lovers ducking for cover as shots are heard
  • Female "associate" located for questioning by police
  • Police officers among those who died
People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Broken windows are seen on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino after a lone gunman opened fired on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
The gunman - named by police as Stephen Paddock (64) - opened fire from a hotel room on hundreds of poeple attending a music concert in Las Vegas

Sally Ho and Regina Garcia Cano

At least 59 people have died and 515 people were injured in the worst ever mass shooting in modern US history at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas.

The gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock, of Mesquite, Nevada, was found dead in a room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on Las Vegas Strip with as many as 10 firearms.

SWAT officers who stormed the gunman's room found that he had killed himself.

Over 500 people were taken to hospital after the shots were fired on concert-goers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister confirmed that at least two Canadians died in the attack.

There was no immediate word on the motive for the attack. The US Homeland Security Department said there was no "specific credible threat" involving other public venues in America.

People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was hear on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was hear on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has extended “condolences and sympathies” to the people affected by the Las Vegas shooting.

He said: “I think everyone is horrified by the attacks.”

“As things stand we are not aware of any Irish casualties or injuries. But obviously the Irish consulate in Las Vegas and also in San Francisco is keeping in touch and is available to assist if needed.”

Country music star Jason Aldean was performing on Sunday night at the end of the three-day festival in front of a crowd of 22,000 when the gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

Aldean was in the middle of a song when the shooting began. Video of the incident then showed Aldean stopping his performance and the crowd becoming quiet.

The gunman then fired another volley, the muzzle flashes visible from the casino, as more victims fell to the ground, while others fled in panic. Some hid behind concession stands, while others crawled under parked cars.

People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People tend to the wounded outside the festival ground after an apparent shooting on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
A pair of cowboy boots is shown in the street outside the concert venue after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas StripY
Police vehicles block a street corner after a deadly shooting at a music festival (AP Photo/Ronda Churchill)
A woman sits on a curb at the scene of a shooting outside of a music festival along the Las Vegas Strip
Blurred image of heavily armed police officers running
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01 People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
People react at gunshots heard at music festival in Las Vegas, U.S., October 1, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. @RTBLECKvia REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
Police officers advise people to take cover near the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Las Vegas Shooting
Las Vegas Shooting
Las Vegas Shooting

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.

Witness Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said the music stopped temporarily when the first shots began. After the song started up again, 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 stage, when she thought she heard a bottle breaking, and then a burst of popping sounds that may have been fireworks.

She said it had been "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 officers believe this was a "lone wolf" attack.

Police shut down the usually busy Las Vegas Boulevard and authorities across the state and federal ranks converged on 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.

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, police said.

Hours after the shooting, Aldean posted on Instagram that he and his crew were safe and that 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.

US president Donald Trump tweeted: "My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!"

Before Sunday, the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history took place in June 2016, when a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people.

The brother of the gunman said he is "completely dumbfounded" by the carnage.

In a brief interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Eric Paddock said he cannot understand what happened.

The Pope called the shooting a "senseless tragedy" and said he would pray for victims.

The Vatican secretary of state sent a telegram of condolence to the bishop of Las Vegas, saying Francis was "deeply saddened" to learn of the shooting.

The telegram said the Pope praised the efforts of police and emergency crews.

Las Vegas police said they have determined that the woman thought to have been the gunman's room-mate is no longer considered a "person of interest" in the inquiry.

Officers do not believe 62-year-old Marilou Danley was involved in the shooting.

Meanwhile, heavily armed police are searching the Nevada retirement-community home of Paddock.

Mesquite Police chief Troy Tanner said officers entered the property where the 64-year-old lived.

He said Ms Danley was not at the house and police saw "no movement" inside the one-storey, three-bedroom home in the Sun City Mesquite retirement community, about 80 miles north of Las Vegas.

Mr Tanner said detectives are at the scene in the resort community, located near the Arizona state line.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the shooting, and said the attacker had converted to Islam a few months ago.

However, authorities investigating the Las Vegas shooting have found "no connection with an international terrorist group," an FBI spokesman said.

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney condemned the attack.

"This was a savage and brutal attack targeting innocent festival-goers.

“I wish to express my heartfelt condolences and those of the Irish people to the families of the victims, those who were injured and to the people and the authorities of the United States on this tragic day.

“As of now, we have no indications to suggest that any Irish citizens have been affected.  I am conscious, however, that it will take time before all of the casualties are identified. My Department, through our Consulate General in San Francisco and the Honorary Consulate in Las Vegas, is continuing to monitor the situation."

Four people from Northern Ireland were among those caught up in the terror.

It's understood Omagh woman Kathy Ewing and her three friends were attending the concert when the gunfire began.

She tweeted Downtown Country to say it was a terrifying experience, but they were able to run and made it back to their hotel safely.

Any families in Ireland who have concerns about relatives can contact the Department’s Consular Assistance Unit on 01 4082527.

Press Association

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