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On the evening of October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire upon the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in . Between 10:05 and 10:15p.m. PDT, he fired more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from his 32nd floor suites in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, which killed 60 people and wounded 411, with the ensuing panic bringing the injury total to 867. About an hour later, Paddock was found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motive remains officially undetermined. The incident is the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in modern United States history. It focused attention on firearms laws in the U.S., particularly with regard to bump stocks, which Paddock used to fire shots in rapid succession, at a rate of fire similar to automatic weapons. As a result, bump stocks were banned by the U.S. Justice Department in December 2018, with the regulation in effect as of March 2019.


Background





Location


The Las Vegas Strip is a stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard immediately south of the city of Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada. The Strip is known for its concentration of casinos and resort hotels, including the 43-story Mandalay Bay southwest of its intersection with Mandalay Bay Road, in the unincorporated town of Paradise. Las Vegas Village, a lot used for outdoor performances, was located diagonally across the intersection to the northeast. From 2014 onward, the venue hosted the annual Route 91 Harvest country music festival. The 2017 festival ran from September 29 to October 1, with over 22,000 attendees on the final day.


Perpetrator


Stephen Paddock was a 64-year-old former auditor and real estate businessman who had been living northeast of Las Vegas in a retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada. He was twice divorced, had a long-term girlfriend, and had no known children. He was a son of Benjamin Paddock, a bank robber who was on the FBI's most-wanted list between 1969 and 1977. Paddock's only recorded interactions with law enforcement were traffic citations. Paddock was a high-stakes gambler who placed bets at a high enough level to earn valuable comps—free benefits such as rooms and meals. He was a familiar figure to casino hosts in Las Vegas, but was not well known among other high-stakes gamblers because he mostly played single-player video poker. He reportedly kept to himself and was a heavy drinker. Paddock had lost a significant amount of his wealth over the previous two years, but had paid off all gambling debts before the shooting.


Shooting





Preparation


According to his girlfriend, Paddock repeatedly cased out Las Vegas Village from different windows in their room when they stayed at the Mandalay Bay a month before the shooting. Paddock also may have considered attacking previous events. He had researched large-scale venues in cities such as Boston since at least May 2017, and had reserved a room overlooking the August 2017 Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, but did not use it. From September 17, Paddock stayed at The Ogden in Downtown Las Vegas, which overlooked the open-air Life Is Beautiful festival that ran from September 22 to 24. Paddock's Internet search terms from mid-September included "swat weapons", "ballistics chart 308", "SWAT Las Vegas", and "do police use explosives". Paddock arrived at Mandalay Bay on September 25, 2017, and booked into Room 32-135, a complimentary room on the 32nd floor. Four days later, he also checked into the directly connected Room 32-134. Both suites overlook the site of the concert at Las Vegas Village. During his stay at Mandalay Bay, Paddock spent much of his time gambling, usually at night. He interacted with employees more than ten times, including twice on the day of the shooting; an MGM Resorts International spokesperson said they were all "normal in nature". Cell phone records show that he also made multiple visits to his home in Mesquite. With frequent help from hotel bellmen, he brought five suitcases to his room on September 25, seven on the 26th, two on the 28th, on the 30th, and two on October 1. His arsenal of weapons, associated equipment and ammunition included fourteen AR-15 rifles (all of which were equipped with bump stocks and twelve of which had 100-round magazines), eight AR-10-type rifles, a bolt-action rifle, and a revolver. A bump stock modifies a semi-automatic weapon so that it can shoot in rapid succession, mimicking automatic fire. On September 30, he placed "Do not disturb" signs on the doors of both rooms.


Attack


The mass shooting occurred between 10:05 pm and 10:15 p.m. on October 1, 2017, which was the third and final night of the festival. When the shooting began, country music singer Jason Aldean was giving the closing performance. Shortly before 10:00p.m., hotel security guard Jesus Campos was sent to the 32nd floor to investigate an open-door alert. He attempted to open a door that provided immediate access to the floor, but found that it would not open. After Campos entered the floor, he discovered an L-shaped bracket screwed into the door and door frame, which was responsible for barring the door from opening. After reporting the discovery to his dispatch center, he heard what he thought was the sound of rapid drilling coming from Room 32-135 and went to investigate the matter. At approximately 10:05, he was hit in the right thigh by one of about 35 bullets that Paddock fired through the door of his suite. After Campos was hit, he took cover in the alcove between Rooms 32-122 and 32-124 and immediately informed the hotel by radio and cellphone that he had been shot, though he believed he had been shot with a BB or pellet gun. At the same time, maintenance worker Stephen Schuck was on the same floor to fix the door that Campos had reported as being barricaded. The already-wounded Campos encountered Schuck and told him to take cover. Schuck contacted hotel dispatchers over his radio, informed them of the ongoing shooting, and told them to call the police. Neither the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department nor MGM Resorts International, the Mandalay Bay's owner, have confirmed when information about the initial shooting was relayed to the police. After Paddock used a hammer to break two of the windows in both of his suites, he began shooting through them at 10:05p.m. He ultimately fired over 1,000 rifle rounds approximately into the festival audience. He initially started out with a few single gunshots before firing in bursts that usually ranged from 80 rounds to 100 rounds. Many people in the crowd initially mistook the gunfire for fireworks. During the shooting, a security fence hindered concertgoers from fleeing the 15-acre concrete lot. The gunfire continued, with some momentary pauses, over the span of ten minutes and ended by 10:15p.m. In addition to shooting at the concertgoers, Paddock fired eight bullets at a large jet fuel tank at McCarran International Airport away. Two of those bullets struck the exterior of the tank, with one bullet penetrating the tank. The fuel did not explode because jet fuel is mostly kerosene, which is unlikely to ignite when struck by a bullet. During the shooting, police officers were initially confused whether the shots were coming from the Mandalay Bay, the nearby Luxor hotel, or the festival grounds. There were also multiple false reports of additional shooters at other hotels on the Strip. Officers eventually spotted multiple flashes of gunfire from the middle of the northern side of Mandalay Bay and responded to the hotel. At 10:12p.m., two officers on the 31st floor reported the sounds of gunfire on the floor above them. When officers arrived on the 32nd floor at 10:17p.m. and encountered Campos a minute later, he directed them to Paddock's room and helped others evacuate. Campos was then directed to seek medical attention for himself. Between 10:26 and 10:30p.m., eight additional officers arrived at the 32nd floor; some of those officers manually breached through the door Paddock had screwed shut with the bracket. The gunfire had ceased, and the police moved systematically down the hallway, searching and clearing each room, using a master key that was provided by Campos. At 10:55p.m., the officers finished evacuating guests. At 11:20p.m., police breached Room 32-135 with explosives. Paddock was found dead on the floor from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Police then breached Room 32-134; while entering the hotel suite, an officer accidentally fired a three-round burst from his weapon, but the bullets did not hit anyone. At 11:27p.m., officers announced over the police radio that a suspect was down.


Immediate response


McCarran International Airport, adjacent to the shooting site, was shut down for several hours. Approximately 300 people entered the airport grounds as they fled from the shooting. This prompted officials to shut down all four runways. More than 25 flights were rerouted to ensure that no aircraft would be hit by gunfire, while other flights were canceled before airfield operations resumed at 12:40a.m. on October 2. Much of Las Vegas Boulevard was closed while police SWAT teams combed the venue and neighboring businesses. At approximately 2:45p.m. PDT on October 2, a state of emergency was declared in Clark County. Early on October 2, Sheriff Lombardo identified the suspect as .


Casualties





Fatalities


Fifty-eight people were fatally shot at the music festival; Paddock's suicide was the only death at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The fatalities included 36 women and 22 men. The oldest victim was 67 and the youngest was 20. Thirty-four were from California; six from Nevada; four from Canada; two from Alaska and Utah; and one each from Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington state, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Clark County Coroner's Office determined that all 58 victims died as a result of gunshot wounds. Thirty-one of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, while the twenty-seven others later succumbed to their wounds at the hospital, with the last of them dying on October 3, two days later. The incident was the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States, exceeding the death toll of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, in which 49 people lost their lives. A 57-year-old woman from California was paralyzed in the shooting and died on November 15, 2019, more than two years later. An autopsy was performed to establish the cause and manner of her death. On August 24, 2020, the San Bernardino County medical examiner officially attributed her death to the shooting, though the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) declined to include her in the official death toll. On September 17, 2020, the ''Las Vegas Review-Journal'' reported the May 26 death of a 49-year-old Nevada woman who had been shot in the leg during the shooting; she died from complications ensuing from that wound. As with the woman who died in 2019, the LVMPD declined to include her in the death toll. However, the department revised its decision on October 1, 2020, and included both women.


Injured


Approximately 867 people were injured, 411 of them with gunshot wounds or shrapnel injuries. In the aftermath, many victims were transported to area hospitals, which included University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, and at least one of the six hospitals of Valley Health System. Sunrise Hospital treated the largest portion of the wounded: 199 patients, 150 of whom arrived within a timespan of about 40 minutes. University Medical Center treated 104 patients. Additionally, six victims sought medical treatment in Southern California; UC Irvine Medical Center treated four and Loma Linda University Medical Center treated two. Victims of the shooting required blood transfusions totaling 499 components in the first 24 hours of treatment, but this blood was rapidly replaced by available blood from local and national blood banks. University Medical Center, the Level I trauma center in Las Vegas, was difficult to access for the more than 50 percent of patients transported by private vehicles because Interstate 15, the most direct route from the shooting location, was closed to the public. Also, an erroneous emergency services announcement made one hour after the shooting reported UMC had reached capacity and was on diversion. This confusion persisted for several hours and led to most patients being transported to Sunrise, a Level II trauma center.


Aftermath


On the morning after the shooting, lines to donate blood in Las Vegas stretched for blocks. Wait times were as much as six hours or more. In Las Vegas alone, 800 units of blood were donated to the local blood bank in the days following the shooting, and the American Red Cross reported a 53% increase in blood donation in the two days following the shooting. It was later reported that over 15% of the blood donated in Las Vegas after the shooting went unused, prompting questions about the benefit of widespread calls for blood donation following mass shootings. Millions of dollars have also been raised to help victims and their families. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval called the shooting "a tragic and heinous act of violence that has shaken the Nevada family". Jason Aldean, who was singing when the shooting started, posted his condolences on Instagram and noted all of those working with him at the show had survived the attack. Officials from the FBI and the ATF responded to assist in the investigation. At a press conference, U.S. President Donald Trump described Paddock as "a very very sick individual", and "a demented man, itha lot of problems". He added, "the police department has done such an incredible job, and we'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by". A White House official talking points memo, distributed to Trump allies, opposed tightening gun control since "new laws won't stop a mad man", but "will curtail the freedoms of law abiding citizens". On October 2, Trump issued a proclamation to honor the victims and their families. On October 4, Trump visited the shooting victims and first responders. A unity prayer walk and ceremony was held in Las Vegas on October 7 in honor of the dead. Speakers at the ceremony included Vice President Mike Pence and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. On the evening of October 15, thousands participated in a commemorative 3 mile walk between Circus Circus and Mandalay Bay. The annual Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon took place on November 12 and was the largest event to be held in the city since the shooting. The event received a massive amount of security, which included 350 officers, counter-sniper surveillance posts, and a number of barriers composed of dump trucks, buses, and other large vehicles. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL held a tribute to the victims and honored response personnel before their inaugural home game on October 10. Later during the season, the number 58 became the first number in team history to be retired, chosen for the 58 deaths during the shooting. The future of the Las Vegas Village remained undetermined until September 2019. MGM Resorts International intends to create a community center, which will host sporting events. In March 2019, Las Vegas police officer Cordell Hendrex, who did not immediately respond to the gunfire but had remained in the floor below Paddock, was fired for his inaction. He was reinstated a year later following an arbitrator's ruling.


Misinformation, fake news, and conspiracy theories


Following the shooting, misinformation, and fake news about the shooter's identity and motive went viral on social media: * A 4chan /pol/ thread, which misidentified the shooter and described him as a registered Democrat, was briefly featured in the "Top Stories" section of a Google search for the shooter's name. This was further circulated by a number of websites, including ''The Gateway Pundit''. * The fake news website ''Your News Wire'' spread false information about a second gunman purportedly shooting from the fourth floor of the hotel. * Two of Facebook's top trending pages were items from Sputnik, a Russian government news agency. These included one story that falsely claimed the FBI had linked the shooter to a terrorist group. The stories were later removed from Sputnik with an apology. * Stories linking the shooter to the Antifa movement have also been discredited. * The terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) claimed that Paddock was its "soldier" and that he had answered Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's call to attack coalition countries' citizens. ISIS provided no evidence for its claim, and had previously released multiple false claims of responsibility for incidents with which it had no known connection. On October 9, 2017, the FBI declared that Paddock's attack was not linked to international terrorism. Google and Facebook were criticized for displaying such false news stories in some of their search results. The two technology companies were said to have failed in their responsibility of keeping these from reaching the public. Facebook later said its algorithms were designed to detect and remove false stories, but failed to work adequately in this instance. Survivors of the shooting have been accused of being crisis actors, and some have received death threats on social media. Conspiracy theorists have claimed that there were multiple shooters and that details of the massacre are being covered up for the sake of promoting gun control laws. After some media outlets reported that YouTube search results for information about the shooting returned links to conspiracy videos, YouTube said it had tweaked its search algorithm to promote news sources which it considered more authoritative. Some experts have said the removal of this content ironically fuels conspiracy theories by making a cover-up seem evident.


Gun control discussion


The shooting prompted support in Congress for assault weapons legislation that would ban bump stocks. Many Congressional Democrats and some Republicans expressed support. House leaders said the issue of bump stock regulation should be decided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which originally approved bump stocks. The National Rifle Association (NRA) came out in favor of administrative bump stock regulations. Firearms retailers reported increased consumer interest in bump stocks. On November 6, 2017, Massachusetts became the first state to ban the sale, possession, or use of the devices. In December 2018, Acting United States Attorney General Matthew Whitaker signed a regulation banning bump stocks in the U.S., effective March 2019. The regulation bans new sales and requires current owners to surrender or destroy existing bump stocks. Eighteen Democratic U.S. Senators introduced a bill, the Keep Americans Safe Act, which would ban gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. Stock prices of firearms manufacturers rose the day after the shooting, as has happened after similar incidents. Investors expected gun sales to increase over concerns that such an event could lead to more stringent gun-control legislation, and possibly due to a rush of customers wishing to defend themselves against future attacks, but firearm sales did not increase after the shooting.


Legal action


In November 2017, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of 450 of the victims of the shooting, which claimed that the Mandalay Bay Hotel had shown negligence by allowing Paddock to bring a large amount of weaponry into the building. In July 2018, MGM Resorts International countersued hundreds of victims, claiming that it had "no liability of any kind" for the attack. On October 3, 2019, MGM Resorts reached a settlement of $800 million with the victims of the shooting, which was approved by a judge on September 30, 2020.


Bravery awards


A British soldier, Trooper Ross Woodward, from the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, who was visiting a nearby hotel while off-duty when the shooting began, was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Bravery for his actions during the event. His citation stated that "he consciously, deliberately and repeatedly advanced towards danger, moving people to safety and treating casualties". Navy Petty Officer First Class Brian Mazi, who was attending the event with his wife, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his actions. A detective with the Rhode Island State Police, Conor O'Donnell, who was attending the event with his girlfriend, was awarded a service ribbon for his actions. Assistant Scoutmaster Martin Heffernan was honored by Boy Scouts of America for demonstrating unusual heroism and extraordinary skill in saving or attempting to save a life at extreme risk to self with the Honor Award with Crossed Palms. Sgt. Chasen Brown with the Utah Army National Guard was awarded the Medal of Valor for saving at least half a dozen other concert-goers. For 60–90 minutes after the shooting stopped, he continued to help render aid and assessed casualties.


Thousand Oaks shooting


Several people at the shooting were also present during a November 2018 mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, which left thirteen dead, including the gunman. One person said the number of Las Vegas survivors at the bar may have been as high as 60. It was confirmed that a survivor of the Las Vegas shooting had died in the Thousand Oaks shooting.


Investigation


According to authorities with the Clark County Commission, the name "1 October" was declared the official title for investigations into the mass shooting.


Early reports


Investigators found hidden surveillance cameras that were placed inside and outside the hotel room, presumably so Paddock could monitor the arrival of others. The cameras were not in record mode. Police said a handwritten note found in the room indicated Paddock had been calculating the distance, wind, and trajectory from his 32nd floor hotel suite to the concertgoers he was targeting on the festival lot. At a press conference on October 4, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo stated there was evidence—which he declined to discuss—that Paddock intended to escape the scene, and that he may have had assistance from an accomplice. Investigators searched Paddock's room and found a "bulletproof vest" and breathing apparatus, neither of which were used by Paddock. There have been several changes in the official account and timeline of Paddock's shooting of hotel security guard Campos. Police officials described these adjustments as "minute changes" that are common in complex investigations. In their first statement about the incident, police officials inaccurately reported that Campos arrived on the scene after Paddock began firing into the crowd. In a second statement, police officials reported, again inaccurately, that Campos was shot six minutes before Paddock began firing into the crowd. That report had been based on a 9:59 p.m. notation in a hotel security log, which in a third statement was determined to have been the time when Campos encountered the barricaded door. Sheriff Lombardo dismissed allegations that the changing timeline was the result of some kind of conspiracy between the police department, the FBI, and MGM Resorts International saying, "Nobody is attempting to hide anything in reference to this investigation. The dynamics and the size of this investigation requires us to go through voluminous amounts of information in order to draw an accurate picture."


Preliminary investigation


The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released a preliminary report on the event on January 18, 2018. Police speculate that Paddock acted alone and have not determined his motive. No links have been identified to any hate groups, terrorist groups or ideologies, and he did not record a reason for his actions. On February 2, 2018, Douglas Haig, an Arizona ammunition dealer, was charged in a Nevada federal court with "conspiracy to manufacture and sell armor-piercing ammunition without a license" after his fingerprints were discovered on unfired armor-piercing ammunition inside Paddock's suite. He was sentenced in June 2020 to 13 months in prison.


Final investigative report


On August 3, 2018, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo held a press conference on the release of the ''LVMPD Criminal Investigative Report of the 1 October Mass Casualty Shooting''. He said the 10-month investigation had revealed no evidence of conspiracy or a second gunman, and that the gunman's motive had not been definitely determined. Lombardo said "What we have been able to answer are the questions of who, what, when, where and how... what we have not been able to definitively answer is why Stephen Paddock committed this act." A report published by the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit in January 2019 said that "there was no single or clear motivating factor" for the shooting.


Weaponry


Twenty-four firearms, a large quantity of ammunition, and numerous high-capacity magazines capable of holding up to 100 rounds apiece were found in the suite. Fourteen of the firearms were .223-caliber AR-15-type semi-automatic rifles: three manufactured by Colt, two by Daniel Defense, two by FN Herstal, two by LWRC International, two by POF-USA, one with a .223 Wylde chamber by Christensen Arms, one made-to-order by LMT, and one by Noveske. The others were eight .308-caliber AR-10-type rifles, one .308-caliber Ruger American bolt-action rifle, and one .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Model 342 revolver. The AR-15 rifles were fitted with vertical forward grips and bump stocks, the latter of which allowed for recoil to actuate their triggers at a rate of 90 rounds in 10 seconds. The AR-10 rifles were equipped with various telescopic sights and mounted on bipods. Paddock was found to have fired a total of 1,058 rounds from fifteen of the firearms: 1,049 from twelve AR-15-style rifles, eight from two AR-10-style rifles, and the round used to kill himself from the Smith & Wesson revolver. During the subsequent investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that the firearms found in his hotel room, along with more guns found in his homes, had been legally purchased in Nevada, California, Texas, and Utah. In the month preceding the shooting, he had attempted to purchase tracer ammunition, but the gun dealer he approached did not have the item in stock. He bought tracer ammunition from a private seller at a Phoenix, Arizona gun show. In addition, ammonium nitrate (often used in improvised explosive devices) was found in the trunk of his Hyundai Tucson SUV, along with 1,600 rounds of ammunition and of Tannerite, a binary explosive used to make explosive targets for gun ranges. Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said that while Paddock had "nefarious intent" with the material, he did not appear to have assembled an explosive device.


See also


* Gun violence in the United States * Gun law in the United States * Gun politics in the United States * Gun laws in Nevada * Mass shootings in the United States * List of disasters in the United States by death toll * List of rampage killers * List of rampage killers in the United States


Notes





References





Citations





Video source


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External links



Joe Lombardo Press Conference on release of the LVMPD Criminal Investigative Report of the 1 October Mass Casualty Shooting
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Press Conference
LVMPD Criminal Investigative Report of the 1 October Mass Casualty Shooting
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Final report
LVMPD Preliminary Investigative Report 1 October / Mass Casualty Shooting Event: 171001-3519
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
Recording of police radio communications for the incident - from Broadcastify.com

LVMPD Dispatch Logs
dated 10/03/2017
LVMPD Officer Reports

LVMPD Witness Statements

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department: Press Releases
dated: October 2, 2017
List of victims fatally shot

Short tribute to each victim
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