Cowardly attacker takes aim at concert-goers from 32nd-story Mandalay Bay hotel room
Fifty nine people were killed and more than 500 were injured after a gunman opened fire on a large country music concert crowd in Las Vegas, Nevada. The shooter, whom police identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, started shooting at the crowd around 10 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday, October 1.
Paddock shot at the crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, where he had been staying in since September 28. Forty two weapons were found across Paddock’s motel room and home, police said. About 20,000 people were in attendance at the Route 91 harvest country music festival.
The attack is now the deadliest mass shooting in US history, surpassing last year’s shooting at the Orlando nightclub, which killed 50 people and wounded 53. Authorities who stormed the room said Paddock killed himself before they arrived. Authorities believe that Paddock acted alone, and there were no known links to any international terror organizations despite a claim of responsibility by ISIS.
President Donald Trump called the shooting an “act of pure evil.” Trump and first lady Melania Trump were leading a moment of silence Monday afternoon at the White House South Lawn to honor the victims. Originally reports indicated that Paddock used an automatic weapon based on the frequency of shots. Automatic weapons have been outlawed in the United States since the 1930s, implying that Paddock purchased these weapons illegally. However, law enforcement said he purchased and adapted his weapons legally using a “bump stock,” a legal adaptation device used to mimic automatic fire. The shooting has rekindled the fire of gun control debates between politicians and citizens alike.
At this point, Paddock’s motive remains unclear and is still being investigated. Many of those close to Paddock, including his brother and his girlfriend, were completely shocked by this incident and could not explain why he would commit this act. Though authorities denied a link to ISIS, the Associated Press pointed out in one report that ISIS has not been known to take credit for attacks unless they have at least a loose association with the assailant.
Paddock was described as his brother as an independently wealthy retired accountant and real estate maven with no known ideology or religious practice. He enjoy gambling relatively large sums of money, his brother said. Paddock’s father was an FBI-most wanted fugitive in the 1970s.