58 dead in Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Highway Festival

Kristen Burgess, Staff Writer

64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock opened fire from a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada late Sunday night Oct. 1 during the Route 91 Highway Festival, a country music event. The death toll has risen to 58 with more than 500 injured. Authorities are describing this the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The first reports of the shooting came at 10:08 p.m. during the finale of the festival. Paddock was found dead on the scene by authorities after he took his own life following the attack.

Paddock fired in three bursts, the first of which lasted for 9 seconds. Two of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department off-duty members were shot during the attack and rushed to the hospital with other victims.

Police report that Paddock has no significant criminal history. His father Benjamin Paddock was on the FBI’s “10 Most Wanted List” for a short time after he escaped prison. He had been convicted of serial bank robbery.

The Islamic State has claimed that Stephen Paddock was acting as one of their soldiers, however authorities have currently found no evidence to support this claim and believe Paddock acted alone. They stated Paddock “converted to Muslim several months ago.”

Paddock’s brother Eric told authorities Stephen had no history of a religious or political affiliation.

“My brother did this,” he said in an interview with CBS News. “It was like he shot us. If he had have killed my kids, I couldn’t have been more dumbfounded.”

The Route 91 Highway Festival, a three-day event, was sold out. The arena could hold 400,000 people and spanned over 15 acres. The crowd size was reported as more than 22,000.

“It was like shooting fish in a barrel from where I was,” said country singer Jake Owen, who was on the stage with Jason Aldean at the time of the attack. “This is not an exaggeration: This shooting was going on for at least 10 minutes.”

For those looking to find any missing loved ones, the police have implemented what they are calling a “family reunification center” at 400 S. Martin L. King Blvd., Building B. Victims began to be identified on Monday afternoon. Many bystanders used their vehicles to assist victims and transport those hurt to the hospital.

Aldean took to social media to state he was uninjured. The Mandalay Bay and Casino is not only a hotel, but a shopping center and casino. Because of this, the building contains multiple points of entry where it may become easy for someone like Paddock to access a room.

“Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence,” said President Donald Trump. He plans to travel to Las Vegas Wednesday.

Along with accessing the reunification center, individuals in the Las Vegas area can help by donating blood at Labor Health and Welfare Clinic, 7135 W. Sahara Ave, Las Vegas. For those wishing to help remotely, Clark County Commissioner Chair Steve Sisolak initiated a GoFundMe campaign.