A gunman opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday evening, killing at least 59 people and injuring more than 500 near the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino. Here is what we know:
What is the latest information on the shooter?
Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old resident of Mesquite, Nev., was named by police as the shooter. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo later said Paddock killed himself as police broke into his room at the Mandalay Bay, which he was believed to have occupied since Sept. 28. “We are completely dumbfounded,” said Eric Paddock, a brother who lives in central Florida. Later, it was revealed that the brothers’ deceased father was a bank robber who had been on the FBI’s most-wanted list in the 1960s.
How did the shooter obtain his arsenal?
Police have not detailed the type of weapons Paddock used in the attack. Gun owners in Nevada don’t need a permit to buy or possess a rifle, shotgun or handgun, according to the National Rifle Association. Nevadans can even purchase machine guns or silencers, banned in other states, as long as they’re within federal compliance. At least some of his arsenal was purchased legally at Guns & Guitars in Mesquite, Nev. “He passed every federal background check, every time he bought a gun,’’ owner Janis Sullivan, 67, told USA TODAY. Paddock also is believed to have purchased a number of weapons at Cabela’s in Verdi, Nev., a federal law enforcement official said.
How was the gunman able to fire so rapidly?
While witnesses reported fast shooting, the pattern and inconsistent rate of gunfire signaled to experts that the weapons might have been semiautomatic, which require a separate trigger pull for each round, rather than an automatic that would continue to fire while the trigger was depressed. Sheriff Lombardo confirmed that some of the shooter’s arsenal was legally modified with technology known as a “bump-stock” that allows for rapid firing, similar to a machine gun. Paddock could have had automatic weapons, which require a special permit that requires fingerprinting and federal approval. He could have also used widely available trigger cranks on a semiautomatic weapon that would have allowed him to fire nearly 700 rounds per minute.
Sheriff Lombardo said at least 59 were killed and about 527 people had been injured. Local hospitals were reportedly overwhelmed with victims. The first victim to be named was Sonny Melton, 29, a nurse from Tennessee. “He saved my life,” his wife, Heather Melton, said. “He grabbed me from behind and started running.” Then, she said, “I felt him get shot in the back.” Other victims described the scene as a war zone.
Did the shooter have any accomplices?
“Right now, we believe it’s a sole actor, a lone-wolf-type actor,” said Lombardo, adding that a motive for the shooting had yet to be determined. The sheriff also said police had questioned a “person of interest,” Marilou Danley, the suspect’s roommate, and determined she was not involved in the shooting. Later, Lombardo said Danley is out of the country and that authorities would speak further with her when she returned to the U.S. A person connected to her said she is in the Philippines.