Las Vegas shooting: Gunman kills at least 58 at concert

People scrambling for cover after gunfire broke out at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night. The gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel. Police said the death toll may yet rise.
People scrambling for cover after gunfire broke out at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night. The gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel. Police said the death toll may yet rise.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Over 400 injured in deadliest mass shooting in US; ISIS reportedly claims responsibility

LAS VEGAS • A 64-year-old gunman killed at least 58 people and injured more than 400 at a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night, raining down rapid fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel before turning the gun on himself.

"It sounded like fireworks. People were just dropping to the ground," said Mr Steve Smith, 45, who had flown in from Phoenix, Arizona, for the festival. He said the gunfire went on for an extended period of time.

The death toll, which police said may yet rise, would make the attack the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, eclipsing last year's massacre of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub.

Thousands of people fled the scene, in some cases trampling one another, as law enforcement officers scrambled to locate the gunman.

Shocked concert-goers, some with blood on their clothes, wandered the streets after the attack.

Police identified the gunman as Nevada resident Stephen Paddock, but said they had no information yet about his motive. He was not believed to be connected to any militant group, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.

"We believe the individual killed himself," Mr Lombardo said, adding that "in excess of 10 rifles" were found in his hotel room.

However, Amaq News Agency, which is linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, reported that ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, and said the gunman had converted to Islam months ago.

A woman sought after the attack - identified as Ms Marilou Danley, 62, and said to be Asian - is not believed to be involved in the shooting, police said in a statement.

Video footage of the attack showed panicked crowds fleeing amid sustained rapid gunfire.

Las Vegas' casinos, nightclubs and shopping draw some 3.5 million visitors from around the world each year, and the area was packed with people when the shooting broke out shortly after 10pm.

Mr Mike McGarry, a financial adviser, was at the concert when he heard hundreds of shots ring out.

"It was crazy - I lay on top of the kids. They are 20. I am 53. I lived a good life," he said. The back of his shirt bore foot marks from people who ran over him.

Singaporean Marcus Seng, 30, was on his motorbike at the Las Vegas Strip when the shooting happened. He first thought the sound was fireworks or a helicopter, but soon realised it was gunshots.

"It was madness on the streets. There were gunshots every few seconds, and cars began to signal right, to move away from the hotel," he said. "I decided to turn right, and rode away from the crime scene as far as possible."

The shooting broke out on the last night of the three-day Route 91 Harvest festival, a sold-out event attended by thousands and featuring top acts such as Eric Church, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean.

"Tonight has been beyond horrific," Aldean said in a statement on Instagram. "It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night."

Video footage of the shooting captured nine seconds of rapid-fire, continuous bursts, followed by 37 seconds of silence from the weapon amid panicked screaming. The barrage of gunfire then erupted again in at least two more rounds, both shorter than the first.

United States President Donald Trump said he will travel to Las Vegas tomorrow. In a televised speech from the White House, he called the shooting an act of "pure evil", and urged Americans to find "unity and peace".

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has written to Mr Trump to offer condolences on behalf of the Singapore Government. He said that "Singapore condemns this senseless and indiscriminate act of violence".

REUTERS, NYTIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2017, with the headline 'Gunman kills at least 58 at Vegas concert'. Print Edition | Subscribe