Mass shooting leaves 50 people dead in Las Vegas

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Stephen Paddock, 64, the man who police say opened fire on a crowd attending a concert at Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017. (Photo: Facebook)

Las Vegas police said the death toll has risen to 58 people killed and some 515 more injured during a concert at the Mandalay Bay Casino on Sunday night.

From a room on the 32nd floor of the casino’s hotel, Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on a crowd of more than 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival, Las Vegas police said in a statement.

Over multiple press conferences Monday, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said SWAT officers located Paddock’s room, breached the door and found Paddock dead of an apparent suicide. However, Lombardo explained that officers opened fire, but it does not appear that Paddock returned fire. It’s also unclear if Paddock committed suicide during or before officers engaged him.

Details regarding Paddock’s motive have not been released by investigators yet. “I think it’s important to understand that this investigation is going to be long and contracted before we get to the bottom of everything associated with it,” Lombardo said. Responding to direct questions about motive, Lombardo added: “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point.”

An FBI official from the Las Vegas field office said agents did not find evidence suggesting Paddock had ties to international terror groups. The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying there is no credible threat to other public venues, but security officials should take precaution. Lombardo could not say if Paddock had connections to extremist groups in the U.S. either as investigators are still investigating his background.

Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay hotel on Thursday with a woman, Marilou Danley, who traveled out of the country at some point after checking in. While Paddock acted alone in the attack, investigators consider Danley a person of interest. Investigators tracked her down and she is on her way back to the U.S. for questioning. Still, investigators are hoping to learn more about what Paddock did between checking into the hotel Thursday and Sunday night’s shooting.

Lombardo added that Paddock’s name did not appear in any criminal databases, so there were no obvious clues suggesting he had been planning an attack. “This is an individual (Paddock) who was described as a lone wolf, I don’t know how it could’ve been prevented if we didn’t have any prior knowledge to this individual. It wasn’t evident that he had weapons in his room. We have determined that there have been employees going to and fro from his room and nothing nefarious was noticed at this point,” Lombardo said.

The suspect’s brother, Eric Paddock, told reporters that he had no idea that his brother was capable of such a heinous act nor did he know that he had so many guns. “An asteroid just landed on us and on Las Vegas as far as we are concerned,” he said and echoed the authorities, saying his brother did not have a criminal record. Stephen Paddock was described as a retired accountant who liked to gamble and lived in a quiet retirement community 80 miles outside of Las Vegas. He reportedly didn’t express strong political views either.

Stephen Paddock opened fire around 10:08 pm from two different windows in his hotel room. Lombardo said Paddock had a device similar to a hammer to smash the glass. Some concertgoers at the show shared video from when gunfire initially rang out as musician Jason Aldean played on stage. Some in the crowd mistook the sound for fireworks until they realized it was gunfire and Aldean left the stage. Screaming men and women took cover on the ground at the show as rapid firing shots could be heard in the background. Images have also surfaced showing attendants hunkering down behind walls and other sources of cover.

Among the dead is a Las Vegas police officer who was off-duty and attending the concert. His name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, police said. Two officers on duty at the time of the shooting were injured. One was listed in critical condition has been upgraded to stable. The other suffered non-life threatening wounds.

The number of victims was upgraded a number of times, but each announcement had been prefaced that the figures are approximations. Most recently, Lombardo said 58 people were dead and some 515 injured. The victims have been taken to five different hospitals in the Las Vegas area.

Although the gunfire in the videos sounds rapid, like automatic fire, authorities have not specified if the weapons used were machine guns nor any additional information identifying the brand or type. A search of Paddock’s room recovered 10 rifles, which FBI and ATF agents are tracing to see if they were bought legally, by who and from where. Investigators also found more guns at Paddock’s house in Mesquite, but did not reveal specifics. The ATF said urgent traces are typically completed within 24 hours.

Additionally, investigators found that Paddock owned more land in northern Nevada and has plans on executing a search warrant on it soon.

Staff Writer Chris Eger contributed to the reporting of this article. Updated at 2:53 pm EST on Oct. 2, 2017.

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