Mass Shooting in Las Vegas Surpasses Pulse as Deadliest in Modern U.S. History

· Updated on May 28, 2018

A lone shooter opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at a Las Vegas music festival Sunday night, killing at least 50 people and injuring over 500 others.

Authorities have identified Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white male, as the gunman responsible for the violence that erupted around 10:08 p.m., when he began to fire into a crowd of 22,000 from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Police say that Paddock, a resident of Mesquite, Nevada, had at least 10 rifles in his room, although the make and model of the weaponry is unknown at this time.

Paddock, who officials say was “previously known to the police,” was found dead in his hotel room before a SWAT team could apprehend him.

The victims were attending Route 91 Harvest, a country music festival featuring some of the biggest names in the industry. Jason Aldean was scheduled to headline the final evening of the three-day event, but the gunfire interrupted his performance. Video of the tragedy shows concertgoers frantically trying to find shelter as bullets rain down from the hotel.

Attendees reportedly thought the gunfire was a firework display.

The Las Vegas attack now holds the dubious distinction of being the deadliest mass shooting in history, a year after a gunman opened fire on clubgoers at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Forty-nine people were killed and 58 more were injured in the June 12 gay bar attack. Patrons were celebrating Pulse’s Latin night, an event popular with queer people of color in Central Florida.

Prior to Orlando, the benchmark of mass violence was the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, in which a 23-year-old student killed 32 people.

Although little is known about the shooter’s motives at this time, gun control advocates have noted that Nevada has among the nation’s most permissive gun laws. Those in possession of a firearm in the state do not have to register as gun owners. Nevada also allows open carry, concealed carry without a permit on long guns, and the possession of assault weapons.

President Donald Trump tweeted his “warmest condolences and sympathies” in response to the Las Vegas shooting.

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