On Sunday night at 10:08 p.m. local time, a lone gunman opened fire with automatic weapons at the Route 91 Harvest Country Festival on the Las Vegas Strip. The man barricaded himself in a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and fired across Las Vegas Boulevard into the crowd of 22,000 people. At last report, there were 58 dead and over 500 wounded, making this the largest mass shooting in U.S. history (previously, the Pulse Nightclub shooting with 49 casualties). There are two Canadians confirmed among the dead.
The shooter was 64-year-old Nevada native Stephen Paddock, who took his own life shortly before his room was raided by SWAT last night. Paddock’s live-in girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62, was a person of interest initially, but police have since said she is no longer a suspect and is currently out of the country. Paddock has no prior convictions and has a completely clean record with no history of violence; however, his father was a well-known bank robber and was on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted in the 1970s. Paddock’s brother expressed to CNN that hearing the news of his brother’s actions was ‘like an asteroid fell out of the sky.’ The police have not yet revealed any leads they might have about motive.
— CNN (@CNN) October 2, 2017
There were reports late Monday morning that ISIS had claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State provided no evidence of their involvement. The FBI has since dismissed this claim, stating that the gunman worked alone and has no ties to any foreign terrorist organizations.
Country singer Jason Aldean was on stage when the first shots rang out. The shooting continued for 10 to 15 minutes according to witnesses at the scene. Considering the chaos that could have ensued with so many people trapped without any way to locate the direction of shots, authorities say the scene was surprisingly calm and organized. The potential for a human stampede was great, but instead there were many people helping strangers, driving the injured to the hospital and aiding law enforcement.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman says the most immediate need is for blood donations and the people of Nevada are delivering. CNN reports that there were lines forming to donate blood before sunrise and clinics are signing people up to donate through to next Monday.
Condolences, prayers and outrage at how such an attack was possible are also flooding in from social media. Many celebrities send their love to Las Vegas, with the more politically-oriented calling for better gun control. The gunman was able to obtain the weapons he used legally and is thought to have altered them to make the 10 or more rifles found in the hotel room automatic.
Care. Love. Be outraged. Be devastated. Just don’t give up. The world needs good humans today.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 2, 2017
Praying for all those in pain
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) October 2, 2017
There’s nothing I can tweet that will heal the heartache being felt today, but all my heart is with Las Vegas. This is domestic terrorism.
— Zendaya (@Zendaya) October 2, 2017
How a place of excitement and fun turned into a war zone with such a high powered weapon is insane. Senseless violence needs to stop now
— Liam (@LiamPayne) October 2, 2017
It sickens me the ease in which a TERRORIST can be sold a GUN. Is the ease really worth all these lives ?! This needs to stop.
— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) October 2, 2017
Words fail this morning. The friendship & support of Canadians is with the victims in Las Vegas & the people of the US.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 2, 2017
It should be clear that we have got to do everything we can to stop guns from falling into the hands of people who should not have them.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 2, 2017
Our grief isn’t enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 2, 2017
President Donald Trump says that he will visit the city of Las Vegas on Wednesday morning, after his Tuesday trip to Hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico.
My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017
Trump on Las Vegas shooting: “It’s a very sad moment for me — for everybody” pic.twitter.com/298RzQuPXj
— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) October 2, 2017