A shooter opened fire on Sunday night in Las Vegas on a crowd gathered for an outdoor concert, killing at least 50 people in what is the most deadly shooting in decades in the United States.
At least 200 other people were injured, said Las Vegas sheriff Joe Lombardo. The shooter was shot by the police.
Thousands of spectators gathered on Sunday in a large esplanade of the American gambling capital of and entertainment to see Jason Aldean perform at a renowned country music festival.
The shooting took place in 32th floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, overlooking the public. It was from the window of a room of this establishment that he perpetrated the carnage. Several weapons were found there.
President Donald Trump has been informed of the “horrific tragedy,” said the White House and offered his “sincere condolences” to the victims on Twitter.
My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017
“We were having a great night, when we heard what looked like firecrackers. It was actually an automatic weapon in action, but it sounded like firecrackers, “local media Joe Pitz told reporters.
The circumstances of this shooting remain unclear and the shooter’s motives are unknown at this stage. He is named Stephen Paddock and is 64 years old, said the sheriff. Police in Mesquite said he was living in a small town of about 18,000, located some 120 kilometers from Las Vegas, Nevada.
He was shot dead by the police who had located him in the vast Mandalay Bay resort. “The police went there and shot the suspect there. He’s dead, “the sheriff told reporters.
The police also believe that they found the companion of the shooter, a woman named Marilou Danley, but she is “not 100% sure,” said the sheriff. At this stage, she is a witness whom the police wish to interrogate.
In a message on Instagram, singer Jason Aldean said he and his band were safe. “The evening was beyond horror,” he said, dedicating “his thoughts and prayers” to everyone on Sunday at his concert.
Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still dont know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe. My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night. #heartbroken #stopthehate
Scenes of panic
The hotel and its surroundings were closed by police for the investigation, said the management of the establishment. “Our thoughts and prayers go to those who were victims of the tragic events of last night,” Mandalay Bay wrote on his Twitter account.
Images from the outskirts of Mandalay Bay showed the crowd attending the concert interrupted by sounds resembling very long bursts of automatic weapons. Panic and panic seized the audience. Some have sought to escape, others have gone to bed to protect themselves from shooting.
On photos taken at the time of the concert, we can see several people injured, the members bloodied, lying on the ground before the scene, sometimes comforted by a close.
“It started like a broken glass noise. We looked around to find out what was going on. A few minutes later, we heard pop-pop-pop-pop. We thought it was fireworks or firecrackers. And we realized that this was not the case, that it was shooting, “said a spectator, Monique Dekerf on CNN.
“We thought for a moment, OK we’re fine, there are no more shots and then it started again,” she added.
Her sister, Rachel, who attended the concert with her, felt that “the shots came from the right (…). It was right there, not far from us, “she said.
Robert Hayes, a Los Angeles firefighter, described what he called a “war scene” on the Fox News channel. “I think that with 30,000 people present at the concert, honestly, it was unfortunately very easy to kill people. He did not even need to be a good shooter, “he said.
Several concert halls or entertainment venues have been the target of shootings in recent years.
In the United States, a shooting took place in a nightclub in Orlando in June 2016 (49 deaths).
In Paris, in November 2015, a concert of the Eagles of death metal was targeted by an attack in the Bataclan room (90 deaths).
More recently, on May 22, 2017, 23 people were killed during a show by the American singer Ariana Grande in the British city of Manchester.
Several heads of state reacted to the tragedy. In particular, British Prime Minister Theresa May indicated that the British “thoughts” were accompanying the victims of Las Vegas.