By Alexander Jusdanis
By Alexander Jusdanis
Rabat – Sniping at the audience of an open-air country music concert in Las Vegas, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people Sunday night and injured over 400 others, local authorities said.
The attack, which took place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, was the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States.
Sixty-four-year-old Stephen Paddock is believed to have fired at the crowd from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where was latershot dead by a SWAT team who blew open the door.
Police say Paddock acted alone. “Right now we believe it’s a solo act, a lone wolf attacker. We are pretty confident there is no longer a threat,” said Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department later announced in a tweet that they had located 62-year-old MarilouDanley, a “person of interest” understood to be traveling with Paddock at the time.
Paddock and Danley are believed to have shared a home in Mesquite, Nev., approximately 129 kilometers northeast of Las Vegas.
Lombardo noted that law enforcement had not yet identified Paddock’s motive for the shooting. “We don’t know what his belief system was at this time,” the sheriff added. “Right now, we believe he was the sole aggressor and the scene is static.”
Witnesses reported that Paddock opened fire on the audience of the Route 91 Harvest festival at 10:08 p.m., during a concert by Jason Aldean. Around 20 minutes into the country singer’s set, shots began to ring out, followed by repeated automatic gunfire.
“Single shot. Single shot, then a lot of shots,” concert-goer Frank Allard described the scene to the LA Times.
The music continued on and off for about 30 seconds, before going silent as Aldean and his band were pulled off the stage.
“I thought it was like bottle rockets going off,” said audience member Seth Bayles. “Then we saw people dropping.”
The crowd quickly scattered from the open-air venue and took shelter under cars, food stands, and other solid barriers.
One concert-goer, Mike McGarry, told The Independent he used his body to protect his children from the gunfire and the ensuing stampede.
“It was crazy,” said McGarry. “I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good life.”
The attack was the US’ deadliest since the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlanda, Flo. in June 2016, when 49 died and 50 were injured.
In 2016, 606 people were killed in a total of 477 mass shootings in the US, according to Mass Shooting Tracker. 2017 has already registered 338 mass shootings, resulting in 461 deaths and 1627 injuries so far.