LAS VEGAS: At least 59 people were killed and 527 injured when a gunman opened fire on concert-goers Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Here’s what we know about the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history:
A crowd of more than 22,000 people was listening to country music star Jason Aldean at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when bursts of automatic gunfire erupted around 10:08 pm (0508 GMT). Police said the lone shooter opened fire with multiple weapons on concert-goers from his 32nd floor room at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino across the street on the famed Las Vegas Strip.
“People started grabbing their loved-ones and just strangers, and trying to help them get out of the way,” said Ralph Rodriguez, IT consultant who was at the concert with a group of friends.
Police identified the gunman as Stephen Craig Paddock, a wealthy retired former accountant from Mesquite, Nevada, around 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas. The sole suspect in the shooting, the 64-year-old Paddock killed himself in his hotel room as a police SWAT team was about to break in.
Police recovered at least 16 rifles from his room, and later found a weapons cache including over 18 firearms, explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo at his home in Mesquite. A former accountant and a licensed private pilot, police said Paddock had had no known brushes with the law.
Eric Paddock, the gunman’s elder brother, told local media he could not fathom what motivated him. Stephen Paddock regularly played high-stakes video poker but was wealthy and had “no religious affiliation, no political affiliation,” the brother said.
Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said 59 people had been confirmed dead and 527 wounded. The toll could yet rise but the Las Vegas Strip shooting is already the deadliest ever in the United States, exceeding the toll of 49 killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in June 2016.
The Islamic State group, without providing evidence, claimed that Paddock was one of its ‘soldiers’, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Abdel Bar al-Amriki – “The American”. He converted to Islam several months ago, the group said.
The FBI said it had found no such connection so far, and the local sheriff described him as a lone ‘psychopath.’ In a televised address, Trump described the massacre as an “act of pure evil” but said it would not shatter the nation’s ‘unity.’
Trump refrained from addressing the unproven IS claim of responsibility, or calls for gun control and the White House said it would be ‘premature’ to reopen the US debate on tighter gun restrictions. Trump led White House staff and senior US officials in a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House, and announced he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.