A gunman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino opened fire at an outdoor music festival, killing at least 50 people – including two off-duty police officers – and wounding more than 200, officials said early Monday.
Country music star Jason Aldean was performing on stage when the shots began ringing out Sunday night at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Officers confronted the suspect on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino across the street from the concert and he was killed, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. Authorities did not release the suspect’s name but said he is a local resident.
“We believe it’s a solo actor. A lone wolf,” Lombardo said.
Police were on the lookout for the roommate of the dead suspect as a person of interest. Marilou Danley, was “being sought for questioning” in the investigation into the active shooting incident.
However, police said they are “confident” they have located the woman.
Concert-goers reported hearing what they described as automatic gunfire during the shooting.
The two slain off-duty officers were attending the concert, Lombardo said. An on-duty officer was in critical condition and another was wounded, Lombardo said.
Several officers from California were attending the music festival. A Bakersfield Police officer was shot and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Lombardo also said rumors of other shootings or explosives such as car bombs in the area were false. Video taken of the attack showed panicked crowds fleeing as sustained rapid gunfire ripped through the area.
Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said he and his girlfriend were watching Aldean’s performance when he heard what sounded like fireworks. The music stopped temporarily and started up again before another round of pops sent the performers ducking for cover and fleeing the stage.
Thousands fled as bursts of gunfire could be heard for more than five minutes, Yazzie said.
Jose Baggett, 31, a Las Vegas resident, said he and a friend were in the lobby of the Luxor hotel-casino – directly north of the festival – when people began running. He said people were crying and as he and his friend walked away, they encountered police checkpoints where officers were carrying shotguns and assault rifles.
“There were armoured personnel vehicles, SWAT vehicles, ambulances, and at least a half-mile of police cars,” Baggett said.
Witnesses said they saw multiple victims and dozens of ambulances near the concert venue. Some attendees later huddled in the basement of the nearby Tropicana hotel-casino.
Officers carrying assault rifles ran into the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
Authorities shut down part of the Las Vegas Strip and Interstate 15. Flights were temporarily halted at McCarran International Airport because of the shooting, the airport said on its verified Twitter account.
Hours after the shooting, Aldean took to social media to say he and his crew are safe after the gunman opened fire. He posted on Instagram hours later, calling the shooting “beyond horrific.”
View this post on Instagram
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
The attack is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States. In 2016, a gunman who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State militant group killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in June 2016.
A number of celebrities sent their thoughts to the victims, families, and people of Las Vegas as the news spreads Monday morning.
Nicolas Cage said in a statement, “I am shocked by this horrific display of evil and deeply saddened for the families of the victims of our beautiful city. My heart is crying for Las Vegas.”
Lil Jon, who performs in Las Vegas, also commented, “Vegas is like a second home to me, so to hear about this senseless, violent act is devastating. Praying for the families that lost loved ones, and those injured.”
© 2017 The Canadian Press