Los Angeles: A 64-year-old man at a Las Vegas hotel showered gunfire on a huge outdoor musical concert on Sunday night, sending thousands of people fleeing. Only seconds before they had been dancing! At least 58 victims died, and 500 others were wounded, officials said, making it one of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States history.
The gunman, who was later identified as a local resident, reportedly killed himself. The police have no inkling of his motive and he was not known to be a member of any terror organisation. An online video of the attack outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino showed the singer Jason Aldean performing when the music event was interrupted by the sound of automatic gunfire. The music stopped, and the audience ducked for cover.
Several SWAT teams were sent to the hotel from where the gunfire was emanating; however, the officers too were pinned down by the barrage of gunfire. The police work-ed their way up to the 32nd floor where the assailant was holed up. Witnesses narrated how the killer opened fire with an initial long burst, and then appeared to reload as he continued his shooting spree.
‘‘One thought for a moment, okay we’re fine, there is no more gunfire, and then it would start again.” “Everybody in the vicinity went down. I don’t know if they were ducking or whether they were crawling to safety, but it was chaos,” added another. While everyone else was crouching, police officers stood up as targets, just trying to direct people and tell them where to go.
Yet another witnesses said: “I’ve never been so scared in my life.” “It just kept coming, it was relentless,” she added. They said they saw about 20 people bleeding in the street. That is when they realised it was for real. Videos showed thousands of people streaming away from the venue, while those unable to escape curl up behind whatever cover they could find.
Some described watching their loved ones die in their arms. The site of the concert, the Las Vegas Village and Festival Grounds, run by MGM Resorts, sprawls over 15 acres and has a capacity of 40,000 people. The festival’s website said this year’s three-day concert was sold out. Donald Trump was briefed on the “horrific tragedy”, the
White House said, and the US president took to Twitter to offer his “warmest condolences and sympathies’’ to the victims and families. The previous deadliest shooting came in June 2016 when 49 people were killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
IS takes onus but offers no evidence
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the mass shooting in Las Vegas, saying that the perpetrator was “a soldier” who had converted to Islam months ago, without providing any evidence to support the claim. The group released two statements on its Aamaq news agency on Monday, hours after the shooting. It did not name the shooter, but said he had “executed the operation in response to ISIS calls.’’
‘‘Some people rushed to help the wounded, plugging bullet holes with their fingers…”
“Everyone was running, you could see people getting shot. I’ve never been that scared in my life.’’
‘‘It just kept coming. It was relentless.”