At least 50 people have been killed and over 400 others injured when a gunman opened fire at a music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
The nonstop gunfire sent bystanders outside the resort scrambling for their lives while tourists hid and obnubilated in their hotel rooms. Disturbing footage showed the aftermath as the injured lay on stretchers or on the ground with responders and bystanders endeavoring to provide assistance.
A gunman, identified by police as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino into the crowd at an outdoor music festival. At least 10 rifles were found in the room with the deceased suspect.
Thousands of fans were attending the concert next to the Mandalay Bay which was part of a three-day music festival called The Route 91 Harvest Festival. Witnesses said they thought fireworks were going off as part of the concert. Sadly, more than 400 victims were taken to the hospital. SWAT officers using explosives stormed the gunman’s hotel room and found he had killed himself, authorities reported.
Police converged on the area and blocked off roads. Some officers took cover behind squad cars as other officers ran into the casino, the AP reported. Hospital emergency rooms were jammed with victims delivered by ambulance. Others loaded the wounded into their cars and drove them to hospitals.
Multiple flights bound for the McCarran International Airport were diverted because of the shooting, the airport tweeted. All other planes were temporarily grounded, with a few flights resuming Monday morning.
President Donald Trump responded to news of the shooting with a tweet a few hours ago.
My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017
Mass shootings are a growing and alarming phenomenon in the US. By a purely numerical count, the United States has seen more than 1,000 mass shootings in 1,260 days. By a stricter definition, the number is smaller but still sobering: 19 public mass shootings since the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Connecticut in December 2012.
The mass shooting in Las Vegas will refocus attention on the political stalemate over gun control laws, thrusting U.S. President Donald Trump into a fresh test of his leadership. It follows the June 2016 attack at an Orlando nightclub that left 50 dead, including the shooter. The Orlando assailant claimed allegiance to Islamic State, though authorities found no evidence he was directly linked to the group.
Gun stocks tend to rally after mass-shooting incidents. Heightened conversation about gun control raises speculation that people would want to buy firearms sooner rather than later before any regulations were tightened.
There was no immediate indication the attack Sunday night was related to foreign terrorism. And it’s unlikely to break the impasse that shackled efforts for stricter gun controls after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But Trump’s allies and adversaries alike will be watching to see how he handles the situation. As a candidate, he drew widespread criticism for his response to the Orlando shooting when he tweeted, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.
The US doesn’t just have a mass shooting problem, it has an enormous, multifaceted gun violence problem. To save the greatest number of lives, it’s the everyday violence, not just the mass shootings, that needs to prevented.
Our deep condolences for the victims of this horrific mass shooting. May their souls rest in peace.