Mayhem and panic gripped a country music festival in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire on revellers.
A gunman in a high-rise hotel opened fire on a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing 58 and injuring 515 people in one of the worst mass shootings in modern United States history.
Police say the shooter was 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock, a resident of nearby Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on the festival taking place at Las Vegas Village from a room across the street in the Mandalay Bay Hotel at 10:08 pm.
Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said that his officers breached Paddock's room on the 32nd floor and found Paddock dead inside, among an 'arsenal' of 10 firearms. Lombardo said that Paddock shot himself dead.
The carnage surpassed the death toll of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub when a gunman believed inspired by the Islamic State opened fire in June 2016.
On Sunday, around 10 pm local time, Paddock fired numerous rounds while revellers were listening to country musician Jason Aldean during the Route 91 Harvest festival. Bursts of gunshots continued even as Aldean fled the stage and his music came to a halt.
At least one off-duty police officer was among those killed after a gunman opened fire at a Las Vegas music festival.
The police department in Bakersfield, California, said that a group of its officers were at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival and that one received non life-threatening injuries.
Screaming concertgoers ran for their lives, tripping over each other while trying to escape -- not knowing where the gunfire was coming from, according to horrific footage of the attack.
Police rushed to the hotel and searched floor-by-floor before cornering the suspected shooter in a room on the 32nd floor. Officers blasted open the door and found the gunman dead.
Police believe Paddock, a local resident, was a “lone wolf” attacker.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo did not give further details, however, on Paddock’s background or possible motives. “We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said. “Right now, we believe he was the sole aggressor and the scene is static.”
A woman who was seen sitting in the suspect’s car before the incident and sought as a person of interest has been located, Lombardo said.
He identified her as Marilou Danley, who is Asian and is 4 feet and 11 inches tall.
The gunman was previously known to local police for past run-ins with law enforcement, according to people familiar with the investigation. Recordings of the attack suggest the suspect used an automatic weapon.
Later, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the shooting.
In a statement through its Amaq news agency, it claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying that the attacker had converted to Islam a few months ago.
"The Las Vegas attack was carried out by a soldier of the Islamic State and he carried it out in response to calls to target states of the coalition," the group's news agency Amaq said in reference to the US-led coalition fighting the group in the Middle East.
However, US officials said that there was no evidence the shooter was linked to the group.
Speaking on a bus laid on to transport concert goers away from the scene, Lisa Price, 43, and Nancy Stover, 38, of Los Angeles said: “People were lying on the ground -- I was like get up, you’re going to get trodden on.
“We just heard like pop, pop, pop, pop and started walking - it was happening over and over again.
“It was at least 20 shots. Enough for us to start walking, then running and panicking. Luckily, we seemed to be further away - we were at the front of the concert near the stage.
“It seemed to be coming from the back. We were running to try to help people and they were coming from that direction.”
Derek and Karen Bernard, from Los Angeles, California, were in town for the Route 91 country festival and were close to the stage when the shooting began.
“We were inside,” said sales manager Derek, 53. “All of a sudden, we saw the band disappearing - they were like running off the stage.
“We were off to the left side of the stage, we were running off there and there were staff security there.
“There was a woman bleeding – that’s when we realised it was real shots. She just fell. She was shot. There was a lot of blood.
“It was so many - it sounded like 4th of July - just pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. So many. I didn’t think it was real because I couldn’t see or feel anything. I was so panicked.”
Another witness said he was in the room next to the gunman when he opened fire.
“I was in room 135 and I heard over the police scanner that the shooting came from room 137,” said the man, who asked not to be named.
“It was non-stop, I would say well over 100 rounds. We hit the floor and took cover. I called the front desk and she was remarkably calm and said she was aware of the situation and told us to stay in our room.
“After around 10-15 minutes it just kind of stopped. You could smell the gun powder. Right before we got out I heard an explosion, maybe a flashbang, but windows were blown out.”
Trump tweets condolences
“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” wrote the US president on Twitter