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People carry a peson at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after gun fire in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: AFP)
People carry a peson at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after gun fire in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: AFP)

58 Killed, 515 Hurt in Las Vegas Attack

The death toll, which police emphasize is preliminary, would make the mass shooting the deadliest in US history, eclipsing last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando night club by a gunman who pledged allegiance to the self-styled Islamic State terro

58 Killed, 515 Hurt in Las Vegas Attack

Some 58 people died and more than 515 were hurt when a 64-year-old gunman with an arsenal of at least 10 rifles fired on a Las Vegas country music festival on Sunday, raining down bullets from a 32nd-floor window for several minutes before killing himself.
The death toll, which police emphasized was preliminary, would make the mass shooting the deadliest in US history, eclipsing last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando night club by a gunman who pledged allegiance to the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, Reuters reported.
Some 22,000 people were in the crowd when a man police identified as Stephen Paddock opened fire, sparking a panic in which some people trampled on others, as law enforcement officers scrambled to locate the gunman.
Shocked concertgoers, some with blood on their clothing, wandered the streets afterwards.
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.
A senior US government official told Reuters that Paddock’s name was not on any database of suspected terrorists.
Lombardo said there were more than 10 rifles in the room where Paddock killed himself after checking into the hotel on Thursday.
The dead included one off-duty police officer, Lombardo said. Two on-duty officers were injured, including one who was in stable condition after surgery and one who sustained minor injuries, Lombardo said. Police warned the death toll may rise.
As sunrise approached, police were still finding people who had taken cover during the attack, Lombardo said.
“It’s going to take time for us to get through the evacuation phase,” Lombardo said.

  ‘Just Kept Going On’
Video of the attack showed panicked crowds fleeing as sustained rapid gunfire ripped through the area.
“People were just dropping to the ground. It just kept going on,” said Steve Smith, a 45-year-old visitor from Phoenix, Arizona, who had flown in for the concert. He said the gunfire went on for an extended period of time.
“Probably 100 shots at a time,” Smith said. “It would sound like it was reloading and then it would go again.”
Las Vegas’s casinos, nightclubs and shopping draw some 3.5 million visitors from around the world each year and the area was packed with visitors when the shooting broke out shortly after 10 pm local time (0400 GMT).
Shares of U.S. casino operators fell in early trading on Wall Street, with MGM Resorts International (MGM.N), which owns the Mandalay Bay, down 4 percent. Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd (MLCO.O), Wynn Resorts Ltd (WYNN.O) and Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS.N) each fell 1 to 2 percent.
The shooting broke out on the final night of the three-day Route 91 Harvest festival, a sold-out event featuring top acts such as Eric Church, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean.
  ‘We‘re Horrified’
The suspected shooter’s brother, Eric Paddock, said the family was stunned.
“We have no idea. We’re horrified. We’re bewildered and our condolences go out to the victims,” Eric Paddock said in a brief telephone interview, his voice trembling. “We have no idea in the world.”
US President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the victims via a post on Twitter.
“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” said Trump.
As with previous US mass shootings, the incident sparked anger among advocates for gun control. The Second Amendment of the US Constitution protects the right to bear arms, and gun-rights advocates staunchly defend that provision.
“It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something,” said US Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, where 26 young children and educators were killed in an attack on a school in 2012.
“This must stop. It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic.”
The rampage was reminiscent of a mass shooting at a Paris rock concert in November 2015 that killed 89 people, part of a wave of coordinated attacks by Islamist militants that left 130 dead.

  Senseless Tragedy’
Pope Francis has called the killing of a “senseless tragedy”.
“Deeply saddened to learn of the shooting in Las Vegas, Pope Francis sends the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all those affected by this senseless tragedy,” said a message sent to the Roman Catholic bishop of Nevada city on Monday.

  IS Claims Responsibility
According to The Telegraph, The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the shooting attack.
The group said gunman, Stephen Paddock, converted to Islam a few months ago, on Islamic State’s official Amaq news channel.
They said the attack was carried out by a “soldier” of the caliphate and was done “in response to calls to target coalition countries.”
It did not provide any evidence to back up the claim.
IS often claims attacks by individuals inspired by its message but with no known links to the group.
The wording was similar to other claims made by IS where attacks were inspired rather than directed by the jihadist group.

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