In what has tragically become the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, a gunman opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, leaving at least 50 people dead and some 400 injured.
The shooter has been identified as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old male from Mequite, Nevada, and police confirmed overnight that the suspect shot himself dead. While authorities do not believe there are any other gunmen involved, police did speak to a woman said to be the suspects companion, Marilou Danley. They do not believe she is a suspect at this time.
Some 22,000 people were attending the final night of the multi-day Route 91 Harvest concert when the gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino across the street. At least 406 people were taken to area hospitals with injuries, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said.
Shocked victims have begun sharing harrowing tales of carnage and escape. Mike McGarry, a 53-year-old financial adviser from Philadelphia, was at the concert with his family when he heard hundreds of shots ring out. He told Reuters that his first response was to protect his children.
“It was crazy–I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I‘m 53. I lived a good life,” McGarry said. Reuters reported the back of McGarry’s shirt bore the footmarks of those who had ran over him in the panicked crowd.
Country music star Jason Aldean was onstage at the time of the incident and took to social media to express horror over what had transpired. Fellow musician Jake Owen, meanwhile, told CBS News that he took cover with fellow concertgoers behind a car. He said the gunfire, which initially was believed to be fireworks, went on for at least six minutes.
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“We started just running in any direction we could,” Owen said. “You didn’t know where it was coming from.”