On Sunday night, a tragedy struck on the Las Vegas strip, where the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history claimed at least fifty lives and left over four hundred hospitalized. During a music festival, where country music singer Jason Aldean was in the middle of performing, a gunman opened fire on the crowd. The suspect, sixty-four year old Stephen Paddock, reportedly stood on the balcony of his hotel room on the thirty-second floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and fired shots into the unsuspecting crowd. Las Vegas Police Undersherriff Kevin McMahill told CNN that Paddock was carrying at least eight weapons, including “long rifles.”
Paddock was ultimately killed, but McMahill was unable to confirm whether or not the fatal wound was self-inflicted: “He was shot, but I cannot tell you that it was the police that shot him. He may have self-inflicted that gunshot wound. Those details are still emerging throughout our investigation.”
The massacre took place around 10:08 PM on Sunday, approximately 1:08 AM Eastern Time, while Jason Aldean was in the middle of performing. Video has surfaced of the singers set, during which gunfire can be heard in the background. The sounds are initially met with confusion, but the severity of what’s happening soon becomes evident, and chaos breaks out.
One concertgoer, Rachel De Kerf, described the gunfire as lasting between ten to fifteen minutes. “The gunshots lasted for 10-15 minutes. It didn’t stop. We just ran for our lives.” Similar accounts of horror have been relayed by fellow concertgoers, including one woman describing the harrowing scene: “My husband and I ran out toward our car, and there were people hiding underneath my car for cover and there was a gentleman who was shot and he said, ‘Can you help me?’ And so I put him in my car and I had like six people in my car, people without shoes, running, just to get away.”
CNN’s law enforcement analyst James Gagliano confirmed that Paddock was using a military grade weapon, and described the ordeal as “shooting fish in a barrel.” A few of the survivors have shared video footage of the incident, which can be watched below. Warning, they are disturbing in nature.
More than 50 people were killed in the worst #massshooting in modern American history when a lone wolf gunman opened fire into an outdoor country music festival from the 32nd floor of #LasVegas #MandalayBayResort and Casino on Sunday night, police said. More than 200 people were injured in the mass shooting as performer #JasonAldean was onstage according to Sheriff Joseph Lombardo. The gunman was identified by law enforcement officials as 64-year-old #StephenPaddock, a resident of Mesquite, #Nevada. 🙏🏾🙏🏾