Some 58 people died and more than 500 were hurt when a 64-year-old gunman with an arsenal of at least 10 rifles fired on a Las Vegas country music festival on Sunday, raining down bullets from a 32nd-floor window for several minutes before killing himself. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the shooting, and said 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 terrorist group’s news agency Amaq said in reference to the US-led coalition fighting the group in the Middle East. “The Las Vegas attacker converted to Islam a few months ago,” Amaq added.
The death toll, which police emphasized was preliminary, would make the mass shooting the deadliest in U.S. history, eclipsing last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando night club by a gunman who pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants.
Some 22,000 people were in the crowd when a man police identified as Stephen Paddock opened fire, sparking a panic in which some people trampled on others, as law enforcement officers scrambled to locate the gunman.
Shocked concertgoers, some with blood on their clothing, wandered the streets afterwards.
A senior U.S. government official told Reuters that Paddock’s name was not on any database of suspected terrorists.
Lombardo said there were more than 10 rifles in the room where Paddock killed himself after checking into the hotel on Thursday.
The dead included one off-duty police officer, Lombardo said. Two on-duty officers were injured, including one who was in stable condition after surgery and one who sustained minor injuries, Lombardo said. Police warned the death toll may rise.