Deadliest Mass Shooting in U.S. Shocks Nation

Photo Courtesy/ NewsWeek

By Samantha Werkheiser
Editor-in-Chief

On Oct. 1, around 10:30 p.m., a gunman opened fire on the Las Vegas strip where a country music festival was taking place.

As of Tuesday Oct. 3, 59 people were reported dead and 527 were reported injured.

This is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, surpassing the June 2016 Orlando night club shooting that claimed 49 lives.

The gunman has been identified as 64 year old Stephen Paddock, who was found dead at the hotel where he carried out the shooting.

Officials reported that he had shot and killed himself before SWAT could enter his hotel room.

Paddock was staying in a room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino on the 32nd floor, the location provided a view of the Route 91 Harvest Festival that was occurring below his window.

On Monday, the FBI released a statement saying that they have not found a connection to any terrorist organization.

During a press conference, Las Vegas Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo said that over 23 guns were discovered in the hotel room and ammonia nitrate was found in Paddock’s vehicle.

The motive for the deadly shooting is currently being investigated.

Shots were unleashed upon the crowd as country singer Jason Aldean performed his set to a crowd of thousands of people.

“We went there to see Jason Aldean,” shooting survivor Gail Davis told CBS news. “We were standing, like, maybe halfway up. He came on and about 20 to 10, he sang about five songs and all of a sudden we heard about three or four little pop, pop, pops, and everybody looked around and said, ‘Oh, it’s just firecrackers.’ And then we heard pop, pop, pop, and it just kept going and going, and my husband said, ‘That’s not firecrackers. That sounds like a semi-automatic rifle.’ And then everybody started screaming and started to run.”

So far, officials have told the public that none of the weapons found were automatic, but were modified semi-automatics.

There has been a call from the public for stricter gun control law following this attack.

“There’s a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing on Monday.

“There is currently an open and ongoing law enforcement investigation. A motive is yet to be determined. And it would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don’t fully know all the facts, or what took place last night.”

President Donald Trump encouraged Americans to stick together in the wake of tragedy.

“In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one. And it always has,” President Trump said Monday morning at the White House. “Our unity cannot be shattered by evil” and “our bonds cannot be broken by violence.”

To report someone missing in the wake of the tragedy, contact 1-800-536-9488.

Email Samantha at:
swerkheis4@live.esu.edu

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