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Gunman kills at least 58 in Las Vegas attack

Officials said there were about 22,000 people at the concert, part of a three-day country music festival


Las Vegas shooting
Multiple victims were transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. Photo: Reuters

A 64-year-old man armed with more than 10 rifles rained down gunfire on a Las Vegas country music festival on Sunday, slaughtering at least 58 people in the largest mass shooting in US history before killing himself.
The barrage from a 32nd-floor window in the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of 22,000 people lasted several minutes, causing panic. Some fleeing fans trampled each other as police scrambled to find the gunman. More than 500 people were injured.

Police identified the gunman as Stephen Paddock, who lived in a retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada, and said they had no sense of what prompted his attack. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the massacre, but US officials expressed scepticism of that claim.
The preliminary death toll, which officials warned could rise further, eclipsed last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando night club by a gunman who pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants.
Shocked concertgoers, some with blood on their clothing, wandered streets, where the flashing lights of the city’s gaudy casinos blended with those of emergency vehicles.
Police said they had no information about Paddock’s motive, that he had no criminal record and was not believed to be connected to any militant group. Paddock killed himself before police entered the hotel room he was firing from, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.
“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said.
Federal officials said there was no evidence to link Paddock to militant groups.
“As this event unfolds, we have determined to this point no connection with an terrorist group,” FBI special agent in charge Aaron Rouse told reporters.
In its claim, Islamic State said the gunman was a recent convert, according to the group’s news agency Amaq. Its claim did not include the gunman’s name and showed no proof. In the past, the group has also claimed responsibility for attacks without providing evidence.
The Eiffel Tower will go dark tonight in tribute to the victims of the attacks in Las Vegas and Marseille, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter.

First Published: Tue, October 03 2017. 03:03 IST