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Las Vegas Shooting Kills More Than 50 in Deadliest Ever US Gun Attack

Las Vegas Shooting Kills More Than 50 in Deadliest Ever US Gun Attack | Andrew Agbonlaho

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Published on 02 Oct 2017

More than 50 people have been killed and around 400 injured at an open-air country music festival in Las Vegas in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

Terror spread through the city's famous strip as 64-year-old gunman Stephen Paddock launched an attack from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, unloading hundreds of rounds of ammunition from a cache of weapons towards concert-goers.

Police confirmed the attacker shot himself dead just as a police SWAT team burst into the hotel room from where he sprayed rapid fire on the crowd for several minutes.

Described as a "lone wolf" who lived in a remote desert retirement village, Paddock was holed up with more than 10 guns after he is believed to have checked into the hotel on Thursday.

The attacker's motive is unknown, but police believe he acted alone. They said he is "not believed to be connected to any militant group" despite a claim of responsibility from Islamic State, adding: "We have no idea what his belief system was."

Addressing the nation on Thursday afternoon, US President Donald Trump described the shooting as an "act of pure evil", adding that he would visit emergency services in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

The Las Vegas sheriff had earlier been seeking Paddock's female "companion", Marilou Danley, as a "person of interest". After she was located overseas, police said the 62-year-old - who is believed to have lived with Paddock - was not involved in the shooting.

An estimated 22,000 people dived for cover as hundreds of rounds of shots rained down on the crowd during the Route 91 Harvest Festival at shortly after 10pm on Sunday local time (6am Monday BST). An off-duty police officer was among the dead.

Las Vegas police said officers found more than 10 guns in the attacker's hotel room after entering to find he had fatally shot himself.

The shooting came towards the end of the three-day festival while headliner Jason Aldean, the American country music singer, was on stage.

Mr Aldean posted on Instagram that he and his crew are safe, as he said: "My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved."

Donald Trump appeared in his role as consoler-in-chief as he urged the country to unite in its grief and to banish evil, reports Rob Crilly.

“Hundreds of our fellow citizens are mourning the sudden loss of a loved one, a parent, a child, a brother or sister", he said. "We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss.

“To the families of the victims: We are praying for you and we are here for you, and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period.

“Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve.”

The brother of gunman Stephen Paddock has said the family is "dumbfounded" by what happened.

Eric Paddock told MailOnline from his home in Orlando, Florida: "He was just a guy. Something happened, he snapped or something."

US records show Paddock lived in a three-year-old, £300,000 two-bedroom home in the tiny desert community of Mesquite, 80 miles north east of Las Vegas, near the Arizona state border.

The house is currently being searched by detectives, Clark County sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.

Paddock is believed to have killed himself before a police SWAT team burst into his room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, where at least 10 "rifles" were found, he added.

He said: "We have no investigative information or background associated with this individual that is derogatory.

"The only thing we can tell is he received a citation several years ago, and that citation was handled as a matter of normal practice in the court system."

Local media said Paddock had also previously lived in Reno, Nevada, California and Florida.

He lived in the property in Babbling Brook Court with Marilou Danley, 62, records show.

She was named as his "companion" and initially as a person of interest by police. But Sheriff Lombardo later said she was out of the country at the time and they did not believe she was involved.

The Islamic State's news agency has claimed responsibility for the concert attack, alleging that Stephen Paddock was a "soldier" and converted to Islam "months ago", without providing any evidence to support the claim.

Police in Las Vegas state that there is no link to international terrorism and have said they do not believe the suspect was connected to any militant groups.

Updated By : Andrew Agbonlaho on 02 Oct 2017

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