Tue, Oct 03, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Vegas gunman kills at least 50

‘LIKE FIREWORKS’:Police said they did not yet have any information about the man’s motives, but said they have identified his roommate as an ‘associate’

Reuters, LAS VEGAS, Nevada

People run from the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival after gunfire was heard on Sunday in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photo: AFP

A gunman on Sunday killed at least 50 people and wounded more than 400 at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, raining down rapid fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel for several minutes before he was shot dead by police.

The death toll, which police said was preliminary, would make the attack the deadliest mass shooting in US history, eclipsing last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando night club.

Thousands of panicked people fled the scene, in some cases trampling one another as law enforcement officers scrambled to locate and kill the gunman. Shocked concertgoers, some with blood on their clothes, wandered the streets after the attack.

Police identified the gunman as area resident Stephen Paddock, 64, and said they had no information yet about his motive.

He was not believed to be connected to any militant group, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.

“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said. “We’ve located numerous firearms within the room that he occupied.”

Authorities believed they had located Paddock’s roommate, who they identified as Marilou Danley. Lombardo gave no details of whether she was suspected of involvement in the attack, but described her as an “associate.”

Police had located two cars that belonged to the suspect.

The dead included one off-duty police officer, Lombardo said, adding that two on-duty officers were injured, including one who was in stable condition after surgery and one who sustained minor injuries.

Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau yesterday said that no Taiwanese tourists were reported to have been injured, nor has Taiwan’s representative office in the US been notified of any Taiwanese being hurt in the attack.

Video taken of the attack showed panicked crowds fleeing as sustained rapid gunfire ripped through the area.

“It sounded like fireworks. People were just dropping to the ground. It just kept going on,” said Steve Smith, a 45-year-old visitor from Phoenix, Arizona, who had flown in for the concert.

He said the gunfire went on for an extended period of time.

“Probably 100 shots at a time. It would sound like it was reloading and then it would go again,” Smith said. “People were shot and trying to get out. A lot of people were shot.”

The area was packed with visitors when the shooting broke out shortly after 10pm local time.

Mike McGarry, a 53-year-old financial adviser from Philadelphia, was at the concert when he heard hundreds of shots ring out.

“It was crazy — I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good life,” McGarry said.

The back of his shirt bore footprints after people ran over him in the panicked crowd.

The shooting broke out on the final night of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival, a sold-out event attended by thousands and featuring top acts such as Eric Church, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean.

“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” Aldean said on Instagram. “It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”

The suspected shooter’s brother, Eric Paddock, said the family was stunned by the news.

“We have no idea. We’re horrified. We’re bewildered and our condolences go out to the victims,” Eric Paddock said in a brief telephone interview, his voice trembling. “We have no idea in the world.”

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