59 dead, over 500 injured in Las Vegas mass shooting

By Julia Marnin
Staff Writer

The deadliest mass shooting in American history occurred on Oct. 1, leaving 59 dead and over 500 injured in Las Vegas, according to CNN.

Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old gunman, opened fire at concert goers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, according to CBS.

A memorial surrounds the Las Vegas sign. (AP Photo)
A memorial surrounds the Las Vegas sign. (AP Photo)

ABC reported that over 22,000 concert goers attended the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. Country singer Jason Aldean was rushed offstage mid-performance, once the gunfire started and bedlam broke loose.

“The gunshots lasted for 10 to 15 minutes. It didn’t stop,” witness Rachel de Kerf told CNN.

Not knowing where the gunshots came from, people scattered. Some tried to hide while others hopped fences. Many victims lost their lives shielding their loved ones, a witness told ABC.

The New York Times reported that police body cameras captured part of the chaos. Police were heard issuing warnings that some refused to believe. One bystander shouted at officers that the shots were fireworks.

CBS reported that a SWAT team found Paddock dead in his room due to what appeared to be suicide.

In the hotel room, 23 firearms were found. A compound used in explosives, ammonium nitrate, was discovered in his car. Authorities found an additional 19 firearms, ammunition and various explosives in his home, according to CNN. Paddock lived in a retirement community 75 miles away from Las Vegas.

ABC reported that Paddock used a hammer-like tool to break his hotel windows prior to the shooting.

Paddock had no criminal record prior to the incident. The New York Times reported that authorities are still working to piece together Paddock’s motives.

The shooter’s brother, Eric Paddock, told reporters that Paddock was not affiliated with any religious or political parties, according to CBS. Though ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, the FBI said that it had “no connection with an international terrorist group.”

Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, is considered a “person of interest” to the case, according to The New York Times.

Danley was overseas when the attack occurred. ABC reported that when she returned to the United States on Oct. 3, she was immediately met by FBI.

“I have a clean conscience,” Danley told her brother, Reynaldo Bustos, over the phone, according to ABC. “I didn’t have anything to do with this.”

Fox reported that Paddock did send thousands of dollars overseas to an unknown source. It is debated if that money was sent to Danley, and if it has any relevance to the shooting.

NPR reported that on Oct. 4, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump met with victims while visiting the University Medical Center.

CNN reported that Trump condemned the shooting as “an act of pure evil.”

Aldean responded to the tragedy with a post on Instagram.

“I am so sorry for the hurt and pain everyone is feeling right now and there are no words I can say to take that pain away,” Aldean posted. “Just know u are all in my heart and my prayers as we go through this together.”