A country music festival in Las Vegas turned into a nightmare last night, as a gunman opened fire on a crowd of thousands at the Route 91 Harvest festival around 10:00 p.m. last night. At least 50 people were killed, and more than 400 injured, according to CNN.
The crowd was watching a set from country star Jason Aldean when rounds of automatic gunfire interrupted the concert, prompting panic and a stampede that injured many more. “I thought it was fireworks going off and maybe it mistriggered, and then it happened again,” country music radio host Storme Warren, who was standing on the side of the stage during Aldean’s performance, tells CNN. “And when it happened the third time, we knew something was wrong.” Footage from the concert posted by Sky News does not show any graphic violence, but you can hear the sound of bullets:
The shooter, who fired from a 32nd-floor window in the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel, has been identified as a white male, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada. Paddock committed suicide shortly before police stormed his hotel room, where they found 10 weapons, including several rifles, according to The New York Times. A woman traveling with him, Marilou Danley, was arrested and questioned by police, who now say they do not believe she was involved in the shooting, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Immediately after the shooting, there were reports of active fire at three hotels along the Las Vegas strip, sending the area into chaos. Those reports were eventually proved false. Hotels on the strip remained on lockdown until 2:25 a.m., the Review-Journal reports. Las Vegas police are asking people to avoid the area, and busloads of evacuees, some of them clad in cowboy hats and boots, were taken to the nearby Thomas & Mack center at the University of Las Vegas.
Aldean, who fled the stage, posted on Instagram a few hours ago to say that he and his crew were safe:
Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman tweeted, “Pray for Las Vegas. Thank you to all our first responders out there now,” and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval said, “A tragic & heinous act of violence has shaken the #Nevada family. Our prayers are w/ the victims & all affected by this act of cowardice.” The word “terrorist” has yet to be uttered by authorities. President Trump also tweeted:
Update: An earlier version of this article stated that more than 200 people were injured. That number has since been updated to 400, and then to 515. The death toll has also been updated to 58, and the FBI has refuted ISIS’ initial claim of responsibility for the attack.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Paddock was killed by police; subsequent reports have clarified that he actually killed himself.
Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to Monday’s shooting in Las Vegas as the “deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history”; following the excellent historical analysis of our partners at The Root, we’ve amended that language. We regret the error.