This happened moments before and during the massacre in Las Vegas. Thousands of country music fans ran for cover as a gunmanfrom the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel rained a rapid-fire barrage on a huge outdoor concert festival on a Sunday night, killing more than 50 people, injuring hundreds of others, and sending thousands of terrified survivors fleeing for cover, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.
Online video of the attack near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino showed the singer Jason Aldean performing outside at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event, interrupted by the sound of automatic gunfire.
The music stopped, and as victims fell, bleeding, concertgoers screamed, ducked for cover, or ran. “Get down,” one shouted. “Stay down,” screamed another.
“Currently the Clark County Fire Department is estimating the injuries to be well over 400” Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said on Monday morning. One of those killed was an off-duty Las Vegas police officer, the department said. He said there were about 22,000 people at the concert.
SWAT units swarmed the upper floors of the Mandalay Bay, closing in on the source of the shooting, a 32nd-floor room where they found the gunman, with “in excess of 10 rifles,” the sheriff said. “We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry.” The first reports of the shooting came at 10:08 p.m. local time, and officers overheard on police radio reported being pinned down by gunfire. Shortly before midnight the Las Vegas police reported that “one suspect is down,” and soon after the police said they did not believe there were any more active gunmen. The sheriff identified the gunman as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nev., who had no significant prior criminal history.
Before dawn on Monday, Mr. Lombardo said the police were executing a search warrant on Mr. Paddock’s home, adding, “We’re going to clear the residence first for any possible explosives, so that will be slow and methodical.” Eric Paddock, a brother of Stephen Paddock who lives in Orlando, Fla., told The Orlando Sentinel that he had made a statement to the police. “We are completely dumbfounded,” he said. “We can’t understand what happened.” Laith Alkhouri, a senior analyst at Flashpoint Global Partners, a security consulting firm in New York that tracks militant websites, said that he had seen no information yet on whether the suspect acted out of political motivation or grievance, or something else.
A police officer taking cover near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Credit John Locher/Associated Press
President Trump issued a statement on Twitter on Monday extending sympathies to the victims and their families, and was scheduled to address the nation at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. Video of the shooting captured nine seconds of rapid-fire, continuous bursts, followed by 37 seconds of silence from the weapon amid panicked screaming. The barrage of gunfire then erupted again in at least two more rounds, both shorter than the first.
In the confusion after the shooting, the police also descended on the Ali Baba Restaurant, about a 10-minute drive from the Mandalay Bay, and they also investigated reports of a shooting at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino, not far from the concert ground. The police reported clearing out the Mandalay Bay’s 29th floor and working their way up to the 32nd floor. A police Twitter post described reports of an “active shooter” near or around the Mandalay Bay casino. “This is not an exaggeration: This shooting was going on for at least 10 minutes,” he added. “It was nonstop.”
Concertgoers described hearing round after round of gunfire. “Everyone was running, you could see people getting shot,” Gail Davis, one of the witnesses, said. “I’ve never been that scared in my life,” she added. “To have this happen, I can’t wrap my mind around it.”
“It just kept coming,” one of the witnesses, Robyn Webb, said “It was relentless.” They said they saw about 20 people bleeding in the street. “That’s when we knew for sure it was real,” said her companion, Matt Webb.
As survivors poured into surrounding streets and buildings, and the police and paramedics streamed into the scene, unsure how many gunmen there were, the massacre shut down roads and highways; the police reported closing off about a mile of Las Vegas Boulevard and asked the public to steer clear of the area. Hours later, much of the city remained at shut down.
McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas said that some flights destined for the airport were diverted because of police activity. The airport is just east of the Mandalay hotel, and after the shooting there were reports of people fleeing the concert by running onto an airport runway.
The hotel itself was placed on virtual lockdown after the shooting, guests said. “We went into the hotel and they started shutting down casinos,” Todd Price, a guest of Mandalay Bay, told CNN. “We tried to get into our rooms, and they shut down the elevators and started to get everybody out.”
The Route 91 Harvest Festival bills itself as “three days of country music on the Vegas Strip,” and Sunday night’s performance was the last of the festival.
The site of the concert, the Las Vegas Village and Festival Grounds, run by MGM Resorts, sprawls over 15 acres and has a capacity of 40,000 people. The festival’s website said this year’s three-day concert was sold out.