America's Deadliest Mass Shooting Strikes Las Vegas: What We Know So Far
At least 58 people were killed and 515 injured when a gunman opened fire at a country music festival near the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas, USA.
A gunman on a high floor of a Las Vegas hotel rained a rapid-fire barrage on an outdoor concert festival on Sunday, 1 October, leaving hundreds of people injured and sending thousands of terrified survivors fleeing for cover in what has become the deadliest mass shootings in US history.
This incident has eclipsed last year’s massacre of 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida by a 29-year-old shooter who pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS) militants.
As reported by The New York Times, the 64-year-old gunman, armed with more than ten rifles, has been identified as Stephen Paddock. He was found dead in his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel by the police.
Non-stop gunfire sends concert-goers scrambling for cover
The shooter, perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort, sent more than 22,000 country music fans scrambling for their lives.
Horrified bystanders cringed and ran while some sprang into action, frantically caring for the wounded. Concert-goers who had just been enjoying the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, which was taking place across the street from Mandalay Bay, made makeshift stretchers out of police barricades.
Stephen Paddock was described as a high-flying gambler by the officials who lived in a quiet retirement community, with no significant criminal history. Officials are investigating and collecting his financial history to search for clues that could help determine what set him off.
Details about the gunman’s career and livelihood were sparse, aside from observations by neighbors and family members that he routinely gambled large amounts of money. His father was convicted in 1961 of committing a series of bank robberies, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
His brother, Eric Paddock, was quoted by The New York Times as saying, “He was a wealthy guy, playing video poker, who went cruising all the time and lived in a hotel room.” Eric further added that his brother was not an avid gun guy at all.
An official with Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport was quoted as saying by ABC News, “An airport perimeter fence near the concert venue was breached by police fleeing the scene of the incident, and airport staff transported those people to the designated evacuation site.”
A spokesperson for Allegiant Air said that about 30 people who ran onto the airfield were shelters overnight at one of the airline’s facilities there. The airlines said that its staff helped people get clothes, charge their phones and contact their family and friends.
23 weapons were found in Paddock’s hotel room
According to police authorities, the Nevada resident had checked into the hotel on Thursday, 28 September and had brought numerous firearms with him.
Two sources who were familiar with the investigation said that there was a combination of rifles and handguns at the scene, and one of the sources said there were 23 firearms in his room. Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, a police officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), stated in a press conference Monday that the gunman had used multiple rifles in the attack; it is not yet clear whether he utilised all the weapons or not.
Besides this, ammunition and more than ten suitcases were found in the room. At one point, Paddock engaged with a security guard, who was shot in the leg through a doorway, Lombardo said.
The Las Vegas shooter killed himself after the massacre
In the wake of the shooting, the Las Vegas Police Department said that authorities responded to a room that was on the 32nd floor of the hotel, where Paddock was found dead. Police claim that he had killed himself before police entry. They further said that he had used a device similar to a hammer to smash the windows of his two-room apartment.
A gun dealer named Chris Michel, who is the owner of Dixie Gunworx in St George, Utah, told ABC News that Paddock came into his store thrice. Paddock did not by anything for the first two times, but the third time, he purchased a shotgun. He said that Paddock seemed like “an average, everyday” guy and that his purchase was legal in every way. It is still not clear, however, whether Michel is the gun dealer referenced by police.
The Logical Indian community offers condolences to the families of the people who were killed or injured in the attack. We request the authorities to examine such kind of horrible incidents intensively, where innocent people lose their lives. Life is a precious gift, and the authorities have to make sure that no life is getting snatched by terrorists ever.