Las Vegas Shooting - The Worst Mass Shooting in Modern American History

The night of October 1st, 2017 saw the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in the USA. The gunman, Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd of a country music festival on the Las Vegas strip. He fired over 1000 rounds from his 32nd floor room at the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel. 58 people were killed with a further 851 injured during the attack. Paddock was found dead in his hotel room around an hour later from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motives remain unknown. The incident reignited the debate on American gun laws. You will find out about the attack, the shooter and the victims on this page.
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Las Vegas Attacked by a Shooter

On 1st October 2017, a crowd of 22,000 country music fans attended the final night of the 3 day Route 91 Harvest music festival. It was held at the Las Vegas Village concert venue on Las Vegas Boulevard. Headline singer, Jason Aldean was giving the final performance. At 22:05, Stephen Paddock began to fire shots from his hotel rooms into the concert crowd. Gunfire continued until 22:15, during which time, over 1100 rounds of ammunition were fired into the crowd. 58 people were killed and over 800 were injured. The attack exceeded the death toll of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, where 49 people died.

The Preparation for the Attack

On Monday, September 25th, Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay Hotel. He was given room 32-135 as a complimentary reward for his VIP casino player status. He checked into the adjoining room, 32-134 on the following Friday. He used the name of his girlfriend, Danley to book the room. Both rooms overlooked the Las Vegas Village concert site.

During the week leading up to the attack, Paddock moved multiple suitcases to his room, often with the help of hotel bellhops. He stockpiled guns, ammunition and other associated equipment. Amongst the weaponry discovered in the room were 14 AR-15 rifles and 8 AE-10 rifles, many of which were equipped with bump stocks. These bump stocks modify a semi-automatic weapon enabling it to shoot in rapid succession, like automatic fire. Paddock reportedly made several journeys back to his home in Mesquite during the week and spent entire nights gambling in the casino.

The Mass Shooting – How Events Unfolded

Stephen Paddock broke 2 windows in his hotel rooms using a hammer, and at 10.05pm, he started firing through them into the concert crowd. He continued to shoot over a distance of 450m into the crowd until 10.15pm. Starting with single shots, then continuing with prolonged bursts of fire, during the 10-minute period of the attack, more than 1100 rifle rounds were fired. In addition to shooting into the concert goers, Paddock also fired at jet fuel tanks at the nearby McCarren International Airport.

Before the attack started, hotel security officer, Jesus Campos was performing checks on alarms in the hotel. He was unable to access floor 32 by the stairs, and upon accessing the floor by elevator, he discovered an L-shaped bracket screwed to the door, preventing access. This was reported to the engineering section to be checked. Campos reported hearing a drilling type noise coming from room 32-135. As he approached, he was shot through in the calf through the door. Campos took cover and reported the incident, believing he had been shot by a pellet gun. When engineer Stephen Schuck arrived on the floor to fix the door, Campos warned him to take cover, and further gunshots were heard.

Las Vegas Shooting from the Mandalay Bay Hotel

As the attack started, many festival goers mistook the gunshot sounds for fireworks. However, it soon became clear that the event was under attack by an active shooter. Panic ensued as the 22,000 strong crowd fled and took cover from the incoming gunshots. The source of the gunfire was not immediately apparent, with officers uncertain whether the shots were coming from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, the nearby Luxor Hotel or from within the concert grounds. The source was confirmed at the Mandalay Bay when flashes of gunfire were seen coming from the windows.

Officers on the 31st floor of the hotel reported hearing gunshots on the floor above at 10:12, and officers and security agents arrived on floor 32 at 10:16. Campos directed them to the room where the shooter was situated, and officers worked down the hallway, clearing rooms and evacuating guests. By 10:55 the evacuation was completed and at 11:20, room 32-135 was breached by the police Strike Team using explosives. Paddock was found dead, with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

Las Vegas Shooting Victims

58 people died as a result of gunshot wounds inflicted during the attack. The only death to occur at the Mandalay Bay Hotel was the perpetrator’s suicide. 31 of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The other victims were pronounced dead at medical facilities where they were taken to. These included Desert Springs Hospital, Spring Valley Hospital, Valley Hospital, Sunrise Hospital and UMC Hospital. The Clark County Office of the Coroner-Medical Examiner (CCOCME) ruled the cause of death for all 58 victims as gunshot wounds and homicide. The youngest victims were just 20 years old and the oldest was 67. This is the full list of the deceased Las Vegas shooting victims:

  • Jack Reginald Beaton, 54
  • Christopher Louis Roybal, 28
  • Lisa Marie Patterson, 46
  • Adrian Allan Murfitt, 35
  • Hannah Lassette Ahlers, 34
  • Austin William Davis, 29
  • Stephen Richard Berger, 44
  • Stacee Ann Etcheber, 50
  • Christiana Duarte, 22
  • Lisa Romero-Muniz, 48
  • Calla-Marie Medig, 28
  • Denise Cohen, 58
  • Kurt Allen Von Tillow, 55
  • Brennan Lee Stewart, 30
  • Derrick Dean Taylor, 56
  • Michelle Vo, 32
  • Jennifer Topaz Irvine, 42
  • William W. Wolfe Jr., 42
  • Carly Anne Kreibaum, 33
  • Laura Anne Shipp, 50
  • Carrie Rae Barnette, 34
  • Jordyn Nicole Rivera, 21
  • Victor Loyd Link, 55
  • Candice Ryan Bowers, 40
  • Jordon Alan McIldoon, 23
  • Keri Lynn Galvan, 31
  • Dorene Anderson, 49
  • Neysa C. Tonks, 46
  • Melissa V. Ramirez, 26
  • Brian Scott Fraser, 39
  • Tara Ann Roe, 34
  • Bailey Schweitzer, 20
  • Patricia Mestas, 67
  • Jennifer Parks, 36
  • Angela Gomez, 20
  • Denise Burditus, 50
  • Cameron Robinson, 28
  • James Melton, 29
  • Quinton Robbins, 20
  • Charleston Hartfield, 34
  • Erick Silva, 21
  • Teresa Nicol Kimura, 38
  • Susan Smith, 53
  • Dana Leann Gardner, 52
  • Thomas Day Jr., 54
  • John Joseph Phippen, 56
  • Rachel Kathleen Parker, 33
  • Sandra Casey, 34
  • Jessica Klymchuk, 34
  • Andrea Lee Anna Castilla, 28
  • Carolyn Lee Parsons, 31
  • Rocio Guillen, 40
  • Christopher Hazencomb, 44
  • Brett Schwanbeck, 61
  • Rhonda M. LeRocque, 42
  • Austin Cooper Meyer, 24
  • Kelsey Breanne Meadows, 28
  • Heather Lorraine Alvarado, 35

851 people were injured during the attack, with 422 people suffering injuries as a direct result of gunfire. The LVMPD (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department) recognises all 22,000 people that attended the festival as victims. The Force Investigation Team documented anyone who sustained a physical injury of any kind as a result of the attack. Local blood banks in Las Vegas were inundated with donors following the attack, with 800 units of blood reportedly donated in Las Vegas alone. Millions of dollars were raised to help victims and their families. On October 4th, US President, Donald Trump visited shooting victims and first responders.

Who was the Las Vegas Shooter? – Paddock’s Profile

Following the attack, an extensive joint investigation into the life of Paddock was launched by the LVMPD and the FBI. Paddock was 64 at the time of the attack and living with his girlfriend, Marilou Danley in a retirement village in Mesquite, Nevada. The former real estate businessman was a high stakes gambler. He was known to gamble tens of thousands of dollars in one go and was treated as a VIP player at numerous casinos in Las Vegas and Reno. Although well known to casino bosses, Paddock was relatively unknown among other high rollers, as his game of choice was Video Poker. Paddock paid off all of his gambling debts prior to the attack.

Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas Shooter

Officers discovered evidence that Paddock may have considered attacking other events. His search history showed “summer concerts 2017” and “biggest open-air concert venues in the USA”. He booked a room overlooking the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago in August but cancelled it 2 days before the check-in date. In the month prior to the attack, he booked into The Ogden, a multi-story condo complex that overlooked the open-air Life is Beautiful festival. During the stay, he transported numerous amounts of luggage to the room, displaying similar behaviour to that at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Investigations could not determine if Paddock was potentially going to perform an attack here, or whether he was planning a future attack.

No suicide note or manifesto was discovered with Stephen Paddock. The only written evidence found in the hotel room following the attack was a hand-written note regarding measurements and trajectory for firing from a distance. Paddock’s motives remain unknown. No links could be found with terrorist organisations or hate groups. All evidence supported that Paddock had acted alone. At a press conference following the release of the final investigative report, LVMPD Sherriff Joe Lombardo stated that they had not discovered the reasons for the attack.

“What we have been able to answer are the questions of who, what, when, where and how… what we have not been able to definitively answer is why Stephen Paddock committed this act.” Joe Lombardo – Clark County Sheriff

Prior to the October attack, Paddock had not committed any crimes. He bought 55 firearms between October 2016 and September 2017. All guns accept 1 found at the site of the shooting were purchased after September 2016. All the guns and ammunition that Paddock used were purchased legally. In addition to the weapons and ammunition found in the hotel room, explosives were also found in Paddock’s vehicle.

Paddock had stayed at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in early September 2017. He had requested rooms with a view of the concert venue. Paddock’s girlfriend, Danley described to officers his behaviour as unusual, and he spent a lot of time looking through the various windows in the room at the venue.

Danley also described that her relationship with Paddock had deteriorated. She described him as distant and as a germophobe. Paddock’s doctor told investigators that he believed Paddock may have been bipolar. However, Stephen refused to discuss the issue with the doctor or take medication for depression. The doctor explained that Paddock was odd and displayed little emotion. Stephan Paddock’s brother expressed his shock and dismay at his brother’s actions.

Gun Control Discussion

The shooting inevitably prompted discussions on gun control in the United States. The day after the shooting, stock prices of gun manufacturers rose, although firearm sales did not increase. Democrats called for the Congress to act on gun control measures. Support was also promoted for legislation to outlaw the sale of bump stocks. Following the October 1st shooting, gun shops reported increased interest in bump stocks, with customers concerned about a possible ban coming into place.

In November 2017, Massachusetts became the first state to ban bump stock sales. Regulation banning bump stocks sales in the United States was signed by acting United States State Attorney General Matthew Whitaker in December 2018. The ban is due to come in place in March 2019, by which time, all current stocks of the devices must be surrendered or destroyed by owners.

Legal Controversy

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of 450 of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting in November 2017. It claimed that negligence had been shown by the Mandalay Bay Hotel, by allowing such a large amount of weaponry to be brought into the establishment by Paddock. The following July, MGM Resorts International, the owners of Mandalay Bay, claimed no liability of any kind. They, in turn, sued the victims, to avoid liability.

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