Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Las Vegas, NV, United States (4E) – Stephen Paddock, 64, a white male retiree and United States citizen who resided in Mesquite, Nevadat, murdered at least 50 people and wounded more than 400 more in the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. Many children were among the victims.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department expects the casualty count to rise. It was first reported that 20 people had been killed and 100 wounded by Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of Clark County.
Paddock sprayed hundreds of rounds from an array of automatic miiliitary style weapons at a huge crowd of 22,000 people gathered below his room at the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino along Las Vegas Blvd. in Las Vegas.
His victims were among those attending the final day of the Route 91 Harvest Festival across from Mandalay Bay along Las Vegas Blvd. Country singer Jason Aldean was about to wind-up his set when Paddock opened fire on the hapless crowd of unsuspecting revelers at about 10:08 p.m. on Oct. 1.
Police describe the incident like shooting fish in a barrel. Paddock continued firing for about 10 minutes or more at the panic stricken crowd bolting in all directions for safety. Witnesses described the barrage of bullets fired by Paddock as “nonstop gunfire.” lasting for 10-15 minutes.
The pop-pop-pop sound of an automatic weapon firing was first believed by some eyewitnesses to be the sound of fireworks going off.
Nevada is an “open carry” state where no permit is required to openly carry a firearm. Anyone 18 and older who can legally possess a firearm may openly carry virtually anywhere in the state.
Paddock had no prior criminal record.
Police said it was clear Paddock, who was described as a “lone wolf,” wanted to kill as many people as possible and wasn’t after a single, specific target. Why he committed this indescribably horrendous slaughter has to be determined.
Celphone videos taken after the shooting showed victims strewn all over the ground while Good Samaritans rushed the wounded to safety.
Paddock was later killed by a SWAT team that used an explosive charge to blast open the door to his room. Police said they had found some eight firearms, including automatic weapons, in Paddock’s wrecked room.
Other accounts, however, claim Paddock committed suicide and was dead when police forced their way into his room.
Police first described Paddock as a “local individual.” They later revealed that Paddock lived in Babbling Brook Court in Mesquite since June 2016. Mesquite is 130 km northeast of Las Vegas on Interstate 15.
Police said Paddock sued a Las Vegas casino two or three years ago but then settled in arbitration. Paddock is a licensed private pilot with hunting license in Alaska. Police also found out Paddock moved from Texas to Nevada.
Facebook opened a crisis response page to help people determine whether their loved ones are safe.
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