More Than 50 People Are Dead After A Mass Shooting At A Las Vegas Concert Festival

by Alexandra Svokos

On Sunday night, Oct. 1, a gunman opened fire on a concert festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, leaving more than 50 people dead. The shooting took place during the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a country music festival that had been taking place outside near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The gunman fired at concertgoers, who were outside, from inside of the hotel.

UPDATE: Las Vegas Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo has confirmed that at least 58 people were killed and over 515 were injured in the shooting. The shooter has also been confirmed dead and is not believed to have a connection to any terrorist group.

EARLIER: With more than 50 people dead and at least 200 injured, according to The New York Times, this is one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. The shooter was identified by law enforcement as a Nevada local, and weapons were found in his hotel room on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay. The suspect was fatally shot, according to NBC News. This is not believed to be connected to terrorism, per NBC News.

"We have no idea what his belief system was," Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. "We've located numerous firearms within the room that he occupied."

The shooting happened just after 10 p.m. local time as singer Jason Aldean was performing at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Video shows the sound of automatic gunfire during the concert, followed by concertgoers ducking for cover and screaming at one another to get down. The New York Times reports there appeared to be at least three bursts of gunfire. SWAT teams immediately went to the hotel after reports of the shooting emerged. Concertgoer Rachel De Kerf told CNN she believed the gunshots lasted for 10 to 15 minutes.

Monique Dumas, De Kerf's sister, said the crowd ducked once the gunshots were heard. She said,

The band was rushed off the stage, the floodlights came on the crowd, and you see on the right hand of the stage the person who was injured, so they're calling for medics, calling for security, then there was gunfire again.

Country singer Jason Aldean stopped performing and ran off the stage as the shooting started. Aldean posted a response to the shooting on Instagram on Monday morning, Oct. 2. In his post, he wrote,

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

This attack is believed to be the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. With more than 50 people dead, there were more fatalities than the June 12, 2016, shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed and more than 50 were injured.

There was a crowd of about 30,000 for the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, according to CNN, and it was the final day of the three-day event. Aldean's performance was a main-stage event. Other performers at the festival included Eric Church, Sam Hunt, Jake Owen, and Maren Morris.

The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is located at the south end of the Las Vegas strip, near McCarran International Airport and next to the Luxor Hotel & Casino. Mandalay Bay is known for its shark reef aquarium and is owned and operated by MGM Resorts International, which also runs the Bellagio, MGM Grand, and the Mirage on the strip. Mandalay Bay said in a statement,

This evening there was a tragic active shooter situation at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. Law enforcement and emergency personnel responded quickly to the incident and secured the scene. Law enforcement requested that we put hotels in the vicinity on lockdown to ensure guest safety.

Because of the hotel's proximity to the airport, some flights were diverted, according to The New York Times. There were reports of people running from the concert grounds to safety on an airport runway. Police also closed off about a mile of Las Vegas Boulevard, and Mandalay Bay was in a lockdown with casinos and elevators shut down, guests said, according to the Times.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday morning to respond to the shooting. He expressed his "warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting."

This is truly a tragedy in American history, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families.