By Allen Cone and Ed Adamczyk – UPI
More than 50 people were killed and hundreds were injured late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip — in what is now the deadliest shooting attack in United States history.
The gunfire began Sunday night on the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard during the Route 91 country music festival. Authorities said the shooter was firing from an elevated position on one of the upper floors of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
Automatic gunfire was captured on cellphone recordings of the concert, followed by panicked show-goers running for cover. Witnesses said the shooting lasted for between 5 and 10 minutes.
Las Vegas police said at least 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured. It is now the deadliest mass shooting attack in U.S. history, surpassing the 49 killed by a gunman last year at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
Police identified the suspected shooter as Stephen Paddock, 64, a Las Vegas resident.
“Right now we believe it’s a sole actor, a lone wolf type actor,” said Lombardo at a news briefing early Monday.
Lombardo said the shooter fired from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay around 10:10 p.m. onto the 15-acre lot, where about 30,000 had gathered to watch the final night of the festival.
Lombardo said reports of multiple shooters and explosives were false and that police have located a woman, Mary Lou Danley, who was believed to have traveled with the suspect.
Also, police were seeking two vehicles, a Hyundai Tucson, license plate 114 B40, and a Chrysler Pacifica Touring, license plate 19D 401.
Lombardo said he was unable to give an accurate number of fatalities and wounded but he said he believes off-duty police officers may be among the dead. Also, two officers were also being treated for injuries — one officer is in critical condition and the other has minor injuries.
“It was was a horror show,” concertgoer Ivetta Saldana told the Review-Journal. “People were standing around, then they hit the floor.”
She said was attending the concert with a friend and hid in a sewer.
“We met someone at the gas station, a nurse, she was at the concert and she treated someone who was shot in the face, someone who was shot in the chest and someone who was shot in the liver,” a man identified as Todd told CNN.
Aldean was rushed off the stage as shots were fired. “Tonight has been beyond horrific,” Aldean wrote on Instagram. “I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that me and my crew are safe … It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”
Victims were sent to University Medical Center and Sunrise Hospital Medical Center.
Las Vegas police were seeking footage or photographs of the events at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
The Bakersfield Police Department in California said several off-duty officers attended the concert and witnessed the shooting. One was injured, according to KGET-TV. A number of off-duty police officers were at the show.
Roads around the area, including Interstate 15, were closed down
“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” President Donald Trump tweeted Monday.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval called it a “tragic and heinous act,” adding that prayers “are with the victims and all affected by this act of cowardice.
Country singer Jason Aldean, who was on stage Sunday night when the shooting rampage began, said, “Tonight has been beyond horrific.”
A Twitter statement from MGM Resorts, operator of the Mandalay Bay, said, “Law enforcement and emergency personnel responded quickly to the incident and secured the scene.” It noted that hotels along the Las Vegas Strip, where the shooting occurred, were put on lockdown.
At midnight, more than 25 flights were diverted from nearby McCarran International Airport, according to airport spokeswoman Christine Crews.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman posted on Twitter: “Pray for Las Vegas. Thank you to all our first responders out there now.”
James Gagliano, retired FBI supervisory special agent, told CNN the shooter “just had to point at the center … and squeeze the trigger,” because of his elevated position.
“No one knows where the shots are coming from,” he said. “People aren’t trained to look up.”