By KEN BELSON, GERRY MULLANY and RUSSELL GOLDMAN
© 2017 New York Times News Service
LAS VEGAS — A gunman on a high floor of a Las Vegas hotel rained a rapid-fire barrage on an outdoor concert festival Sunday night, killing at least 58 people, injuring hundreds of others, and sending thousands of terrified survivors fleeing for cover, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.
Online video of the attack near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino showed singer Jason Aldean’s performance at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event, being interrupted by the sound of gunfire. The music stopped, and as victims fell bleeding, concertgoers screamed, ducked for cover, or ran.
“Get down,” one shouted. “Stay down,” screamed another.
Tenaja Floyd of Boise, Idaho, said many of the people around her in the concert crowd thought at first that the sounds came from fireworks, but “I knew immediately, that wasn’t fireworks.” She said her mother, Jennifer, threw her to the ground and lay on top of her to protect her. As people started running out of the venue, she said, they thought they might be trampled, so they decided to join the rush to leave.
Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said on Monday morning that 58 people were confirmed dead and 515 more had been injured. One of those killed was an off-duty Las Vegas police officer, the department said.
The sheriff 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 room on the 32nd floor 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 sheriff identified the suspected gunman as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, who had no significant prior criminal history.
Before dawn Monday, police searched Paddock’s house in Mesquite, a town near Las Vegas on the Nevada-Arizona border. Police moved cautiously at first, evacuating surrounding homes in case there were any explosives, but none were found. The Mesquite Police Department said no one was in the house; at least one firearm and ammunition were found, they said, but they gave few other details about what the search turned up.