A 64-year-old man holed up in a 32nd-floor hotel room with multiple machine guns rained down gunfire on a Las Vegas country music festival on Sunday, slaughtering at least 58 people in the largest mass shooting in U.S. history before killing himself.
The barrage of bullets from the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of 22,000 people lasted several minutes, causing panic. At least 515 people were injured as some fleeing fans trampled each other while police scrambled to locate the shooter.
Police on Monday identified the gunman as Stephen Paddock, who lived in a retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada. They said they believed he acted alone and did not know why he attacked the crowd. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the massacre, but U.S. officials said there was no evidence of that.
The preliminary death toll, which officials said could rise, eclipsed last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub by a gunman who pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants.
Shocked concertgoers, some with blood on their clothing, wandered streets, where the flashing lights of the city’s gaudy casinos blended with those of emergency vehicles.
Police said Paddock had no criminal record. The gunman killed himself before police entered the hotel room he was firing from, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.
“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said. “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath.”
Federal officials said there was no evidence to link Paddock to militant organizations.
“We have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse told reporters.
U.S. officials discounted the claim of responsibility for the attack made by Islamic State through its Amaq news agency.
“The Intelligence Community is aware of the claim of responsibility by a foreign terrorist organization for the shooting in Las Vegas,” CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu said in an email. “We advise caution on jumping to conclusions before the facts are in.”