It’s the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
More 50 are dead and over 500 injured after thousands of Las Vegas residents and tourists ran for their lives Sunday night (Oct. 1) as bullets rained down on the final day of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. While singer Jason Aldean was performing his set, the sudden sound of bullets firing rang through the air over the crowd.
Accounts from survivors tell a gruesome tale of horror and fear as they wondered if they would make it out alive.
Witness Meghan Kearney recounts what she saw to MSNBC. “We heard what sounded like firecrackers going off. Then all of a sudden we heard what sounded like a machine gun. People started screaming that they were hit. When we started running out, there were probably a couple hundred [people] on the ground.”
“About five feet from me, you could see a guy with a bullet wound right in his neck, motionless,” witness Taylor Benge told CNN. “From there on … people just started dropping like flies.”
The gunman has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. From the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Paddock unleashed an absolute storm of bullets onto the unsuspecting crowd. One witness told CNN the chaos of shooting lasted for about “7-10 minutes”, as concert goers laid on the ground and on top of each other to avoid the rounds raining from above them.
The gunman was found dead by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in his hotel room. Police found 10 rifles inside Paddock’s hotel room. He is believed by the police sheriff, Joseph Lombardo, to have killed himself before they entered.
Aldean, his crew, and his family were able to get out alive. He wrote on Instagram shortly after, “Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe. My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”