As a weekend-long country music concert in Las Vegas came to an end, a 64-year-old gunman armed with at least 10 rifles fired on the crowd from a high-rise hotel, killing at least 58 and injuring more than 515 people.
The death toll would make the mass shooting the deadliest in U.S. history, passing last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando night club. Police told Reuters that the number of dead an injured was “preliminary.”
Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters that the suspect, Stephen Paddock, shot into the crowd of 22,000 people from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort before killing himself. “We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said, and a senior U.S. government official told Reuters that Paddock’s name was not on any database of suspected terrorists. The Islamic State militant group (otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL) claimed responsibility for the massacre, but U.S. officials expressed skepticism of that claim.
Randy Sutton, a former law enforcement officer who served with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for almost 24 years and retired with the rank of lieutenant, spoke to CBS This Morning from Las Vegas about the coordination between the police department and hotel security.
"These types of events are planned for," Sutton said. "You can only do so much, but this is totally within the realm of contingency planning." Paddock was identified, Sutton said, not from muzzle flashes in the window but by the fire alarm in the room that was activated by the smoke from the automatic weapon. "That’s how they were able to close in on him so quickly," Sutton said of the police response.
The distance from Mandalay Bay to the outdoor music venue across the street from the neighboring Luxor Resort is roughly 400 yards, Sutton estimated—"well within" the killing range of the weapons, which could not be identified as modified semi-automatic or fully automatic at the time. Nevada is an open-carry state, and automatic weapons are legal there.
The shooting went on for approximately 15 minutes, Sutton said, which made it difficult for emergency personnel to arrive on the scene. Many of the injured were taken to local hospitals by other civilians.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mandalay Bay, the MGM Grand and the Tropicana remained on lockdown overnight. Guests were told to stay in their rooms, and the hotels were not letting people into the building. Roads throughout the area, including I-15 and Las Vegas Boulevard, were shut down, and the Metropolitan Police Department asked people to avoid the south Strip.
By 11:00 a.m. EST on Monday, guests at all MGM Resorts were allowed to return to their rooms.
Security personnel have lifted all restrictions on access to Mandalay Bay and other MGM Resorts. Guests may return to their rooms.— Mandalay Bay Resort (@MandalayBay) October 2, 2017
On Monday morning, two smashed windows could be seen in the Mandalay Bay facade, indicating where the gunman's room was.
But as survivors returned to their rooms and began figuring out the next steps, police were filmed racing to the parking lot of the adjacent Luxor resort amid rumors on Twitter of more shots being fired on the Strip.
The LVMPD did not make any further statements about the rumors or the police presence, and did not confirm if there had been a secondary attack.
In the meanwhile, MGM was providing counselors to support guests and employees who were affected by the violence.
Following the tragic events in Las Vegas last night crisis counselors are available for any guest or employee who needs to speak w/ someone. pic.twitter.com/DNa8l4XBDf— Luxor Hotel & Casino (@LuxorLV) October 2, 2017
According to Reuters, shares of U.S. casino operators fell in morning trading on Wall Street, with MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay, down 3.5 percent. Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, Wynn Resorts Ltd and Las Vegas Sands Corp were little changed.
This story is a work in progress. More details to come.