On Oct.1, Las Vegas, NV, witnessed a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The gunman who fired upon the crowd at the festival was 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. In the aftermath of the event, authorities concluded that 59 people died and nearly 500 people were injured. This massacre killed and injured more people than any previous one in US history.
The shooting began at about 10:08 PM from the gunman’s hotel room in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Jason Aldean, one of the singers at the festival, suddenly heard the shots fired during his performance and immediately took cover away from the stage. Eventually, concert goers at the festival did the same, attempting to either flee the site as quickly as possible or stay down under cover.
The police and SWAT teams were immediate responders to the event and arrived at Paddock’s hotel room to find him dead on the floor. Authorities conclude that Paddock committed suicide before special forces arrived. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said that “at least 23 firearms, including a handgun were found in Mr. Paddock’s hotel suite.” Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Police Department goes on further to mention that “some were rifles equipped with scopes, adding that Mr. Paddock used multiple rifles during the attack.” Lombardo additionally reports that Paddock brought in nearly 10 suitcases to his hotel room over the course of his visit.
Authorities continue to question the motives of this attack and Paddock’s background. According to Andrew G. McCabe, the deputy director of the F.B.I., they are currently interviewing “everyone and anyone who crossed [Paddock’s] path in recent weeks.” Paddock’s brother, Eric Paddock, described how bewildered he was to recognize that it was his brother that facilitated this mass shooting. Paddock states “I’m trying to get them to understand Steve’s mindset, I don’t want them to chase bad leads.” The Los Angeles CNN staff also questioned Marilou Danley, Paddock’s girlfriend at the time, to find more information behind the basis of the shooter’s motives.
Currently, Paddock’s body is at Stanford University where neuropathologists are trying to find an answer as to why he committed such a deadly crime. Using microscopic evidence, these scientists believe they might be able to find traces of dementia or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), that may have influenced Paddock in his motives. However, such information is yet to be found and the process of investigation is still in progress.
Investigations are ongoing as authorities from Las Vegas and other communities are searching to find an answer behind the shooting. The shooting causes much conversation about the second amendment and the effects of gun violence on the nation. The event raises severe anxiety throughout the nation as families and friends grieve over the losses of their loved ones.
(Sources: CNN, New York Times, NBC News, New York Post, Las Vegas Review Journal, Los Angeles Times)