59+ Dead, 500+ Injured Following Shooting at Route 91 Harvest Festival
A shooting took place during the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas late Sunday night (Oct. 1). At least 59 people are dead and at least 527 were injured; the incident is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
CNN reports that a single shooter, who has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nev., was positioned in a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and shooting from above the crowd, gathered outside Mandalay at Las Vegas Village. Police believe he killed himself before they entered his hotel room, and that he legally purchased the firearms with which he committed the massacre.
Paddock was not known to police, and police do not believe, at this point, that Paddock had links to terrorist groups; they have, however, found additional weapons and ammunition both in his hotel room and at his home. Police are also speaking with another person of interest, named Marilou Danley; she was Paddock's girlfriend and was out of the country when the shooting occurred.
In a televised statement on Monday, President Donald Trump praised Las Vegas police and first responders for their quick response to the shooting. Trump also ordered that flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims. A vigil for the victims was held in Nashville on Monday night at 6PM, and a GoFundMe account has been established to help monetarily.
Country Stars Respond Following Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting
Jason Aldean, who was headlining the final night of the three-day festival, was performing when the shooting began, shortly after 10PM local time. Chris Young and Jake Owen were both also among those at the festival when the incident began. They tweeted out messages to their families and fans while taking cover.
"We were close to the stages -- about six rows from the front on the lefthand side, and [Aldean] was just performing," concert attendee Rachel Dekerf describes to CNN. "The gunshots lasted for 10-15 minutes. It didn't stop. We just ran for our lives."
Dekerf's sister, Monique Dumas, who attended with Dekerf, adds, "The band was rushed off the stage, the floodlights came on the crowd, and you see on the right hand of the stage the person who was injured, so they're calling for medics, calling for security, then there was gunfire again."
"It seemed there was a pause in the gunfire, and the people in the yellow shirts were telling the people to 'go, go, go, go'" she adds. "The gunfire never ended. It seemed like it went on and on and on."
The Boot will update this story as more details are made available.
Remembering the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting Victims