LAS VEGAS (KFSM) -- A gunman perched high on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino unleashed a shower of bullets down on an outdoor country music festival below, killing at least 50 people and wounding more than 400 as tens of thousands of frantic concert-goers screamed and ran for their lives, officials said Monday (Oct. 2).
Authorities said this is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. History following the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016 which had 49 fatalities.
Country music star Jason Aldean was performing Sunday night at the end of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival when the gunman opened fire across the street from inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
SWAT teams quickly descended on the concert and the casino, and officers used explosives to get into the hotel room where the suspect was inside, authorities said. The gunman was found dead at the scene and was identified by Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo as Stephen Paddock, 64. A motive was not immediately known.
Police said Paddock was found dead with as many as 10 firearms.
Aldean was in the middle of a song when the shots came rapidly: Pop-pop-pop-pop. Video of the shooting then showed Aldean stopping and the crowd getting quiet as if they were unsure of what had just happened. The gunman paused and then fired another volley of muzzle flashes from the gold glass casino as more victims fell to the ground while others fled in panic. Some said they hid behind concession stands and other crawled under parked cars.
Two law enforcement sources told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton that at this point, it doesn't appear the shooting was an act of terrorism. The suspect was known to police in Mesquite and had a criminal history, the sources said.
The U.S. Homeland Security Department says there is no "specific credible threat" involving other public venues in the U.S. after the shooting.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed on Monday that Paddock was acting on behalf of the group, but offered no evidence. The terror group said in a statement released by its pseudo-news agency Amaq, citing anonymous sources, that Paddock converted to Islam several months ago and carried out the attack "in response to calls to target states of the coalition" battling ISIS.
In addition to Paddock, police said they located a woman who may have been his roommate - Marilou Danley, 62. Lombardo said they believe this was a "lone wolf" attack.
"It's a devastating time," Lombardo said.
Police shut down the usually busy Las Vegas Boulevard and authorities across the state and federal ranks converged onto the scene as dozens of ambulances ferried those struck by gunfire. Nearby Interstate 15 and flights at McCarran International Airport were briefly closed. Hospital emergency rooms were jammed with victims delivered by ambulance. Others loaded the wounded into their cars and drove them to hospitals.
Two off-duty police officers attending the concert were killed, Lombardo said. An on-duty officer was in critical condition and another was wounded, Lombardo said. Later, Las Vegas police tweeted that two of its on-duty officers were injured during the shooting. One is in stable condition after surgery and the other sustained minor injuries.
Country star Jason Aldean was playing when the gunfire began. Later, he took to Instagram, saying, "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."
Stay with 5NEWS for the latest on this developing story.