Home' Greymouth Star : October 3rd 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 9
72 minutes of terror
uLone gunman kills 59, wounds over 500
A 64-year-old man armed with several
automatic rifles strafed an outdoor
country music festival in Las Vegas from
a high-rise hotel window overnight,
slaughtering at least 58 people in the
deadliest mass shooting in modern
United States history before killing
The barrage of gunfire from a 32nd-
floor window of the Mandalay Bay
Hotel into a crowd of 22,000 people
lasted several minutes, sparking panic
as throngs of music fans desperately
cowered on the open ground, hemmed
in by fellow concert-goers, while others
at the edge tried to flee.
Some 527 people were injured — some
by gunfire, some trampled — in the
pandemonium adjacent to the Las Vegas
Strip as police scrambled to locate the
Police today 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 US officials said there was
no evidence of that.
The preliminary death toll, which
officials said could rise, surpassed last
year’s massacre of 49 people at a gay
nightclub in Orlando, F lorida, by a
gunman who pledged allegiance to
Shocked sur vivors, some with blood on
their clothing, wandered streets, where
the flashing lights of the city’s gaudy
casinos blended with those of emergency
Police said Paddock had no criminal
record. The gunman killed himself
before police entered the hotel room
from where he was firing, 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
“ We have determined to this point
no connection with an international
terrorist group,” Aaron Rouse, special
agent in charge of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation (FBI) field office in Las
US officials discounted the claim of
responsibility for the attack made by
Islamic State in a statement.
“ We advise caution on jumping to
conclusions before the facts are in,”
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
spokesman Jonathan Liu said in an
Lombardo said there were more than
10 rifles in the room where Paddock
killed himself. His arsenal included
machine-guns, according to a law
US law largely bans machine-guns.
Police found several more firearms
at Paddock’s home in Mesquite, about
145km north-east of Las Vegas,
Mesquite police spokesman Quinn
The shooting, just the latest in a string
that have played out across the US
over recent years, sparked a renewed
outcry from some lawmakers about the
per vasiveness of guns in the country,
but was unlikely to prompt action in
Efforts to pass tougher federal gun
laws failed following a number of mass
shootings, including the 2012 massacre
of 26 young children and educators
in Newtown, Connecticut, and the
June attack on Republican lawmakers
practising for a charity baseball game.
Nevada has some of the nation’s most
permissive gun laws. It does not require
firearm owners to obtain licences or
register their guns.
House of Representatives minority
leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, called
on House Speaker Paul Ryan to create a
select committee on gun violence.
The Second Amendment of the US
Constitution protects the right to bear
arms, and gun rights advocates staunchly
defend that provision. President
Donald Trump, a Republican, has been
outspoken about his support of the
The White House said it was too soon
after the Las Vegas attack to consider
new gun control policies.
“ Today is a day for consoling the
sur vivors and mourning those we
lost,” presidential spokeswoman Sarah
Sanders said at a news briefing. “ It
would be premature for us to discuss
policy when we don’t fully know all the
facts or what took place last night.”
Trump said he would travel to
Las Vegas tomorrow to meet with
victims, their family members and first
“It was an act of pure evil,” said Trump,
who later led a moment of silence at the
White House in honour of the victims.
The suspected shooter’s brother, Eric
Paddock, said the family was stunned by
“ We’re horrified. We’re bewildered, and
our condolences go out to the victims,”
Eric Paddock said in a phone inter view,
his voice trembling. “ We have no idea in
the world. ”
He said his brother belonged to no
political or religious organisations, and
had no history of mental illness. Their
father had been a bank robber who for
a time was listed on the FBI’s Ten Most
Wanted list of fugitives.
Video of the attack showed panicked
crowds fleeing as sustained rapid gunfire
ripped through the area as the shooter
fired from a distance of about 300m.
“People were just dropping to the
ground. It just kept going on,” Steve
Smith, a 45-year-old visitor from
Phoenix, Arizona, said. He said the
gunfire went on for an extended period
“Probably 100 shots at a time,” Smith
said. “ It would sound like it was reloading
and then it would go again.”
Las Vegas’s casinos, nightclubs and
shopping draw some 3.5 million visitors
from around the world each year and the
area was packed with visitors when the
shooting broke out shortly after 10pm
Mike McGarry, a financial adviser from
Philadelphia, was at the concert when he
heard hundreds of shots ring out.
kids. They ’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good
life,” McGarry said.
The back of his shirt bore footmarks,
after people ran over him in the panicked
crowd. — Reuters
PICTURE: Getty Images
A man lies on top of a woman as others flee the Route 91 Harvest countr y music festival grounds. She appeared to be moving.
Hear tbreaking photo emerges from tragedy
A heartbreaking picture of a man
appearing to shelter a woman amid
the chaos on the Las Vegas strip has
The picture taken by Getty
photographer David Becker shows a
man hunched over a woman’s body,
appearing to protect her from the
shots fired at the music festival.
The woman lies on the ground with
her eyes closed. The couple’s identity
and their medical condition remains
Witnesses could be seen ducking
for cover and running for their
lives on social media, with many
describing how people were running
anyway they could or hiding under
cars, bleachers or the stage.
Canadian Quinn Mell-Cobb was
in the venue with his girlfriend
when he said the shooting began.”I
saw my girlfriend go down so I was
worried she might have been hit,”
“It sounded like it was coming
from everywhere . . . It ’s one of those
situations you never think you’re
going to be in. ” — News.com .au
PICTURE: Getty Images
Recording artist Jason Aldean performs during the Route 91 Harvest country
music festival, before the shooting started.
Two country singers on the bill at
the Route 91 Har vest Festival have
described a scene of terror that felt like
a “war zone” as a shooter in a Las Vegas
hotel rained gunfire down on thousands
of music fans.
Police say at least 59 people died and
at least 527 people were injured during
the attack by Stephen Craig Paddock, a
Country singer Tyler Reeve says he
was backstage when a volley of shots
rang out during a performance by Jason
He and other singers took cover in a
trailer while bullets struck tour buses,
equipment cases and the stage.
“I don’t think many people realised
right away what it was but right when
I heard it, I grabbed my buddy who was
next to me and started running toward a
production trailer,” Reeve said.
Reeve and others lay down on the
trailer floor and turned the lights off.
“As we were lying in this trailer, I was
thinking, ‘ This can’t really be happening’,
and it just went on and on. I can’t even
describe the feeling, just absolute terror,”
After about 45 minutes, Reeve and his
friends left the trailer and ran through
the streets to the MGM Grand Casino.
“It was just shoes and clothing and
blood and bodies,” Reeve said.
“It was a war zone.”
Singer Dylan Schneider says he was
watching Aldean’s performance near the
front of the stage when he heard what he
first thought were fireworks.
But as the shooting continued, he and
his manager ran for cover under nearby
He said the crowd scattered, unsure of
where the gunfire was coming from, and
he could see people lying on the grass
from under the bench seats.
Schneider said he and his manager
ran to the Tropicana Hotel and Casino,
where they spent several hours in a
convention room with hundreds of other
people. — AP
Singers describe ‘war zone’
One moment they were dancing at a
country music concert, the next they
were fleeing for their lives from the
worst mass shooting in United States
Haunting videos captured the moment
joy turned to bloody tragedy for
thousands of music fans as they were cut
down by volleys of machine gun fire in
The wounded were rushed to safety
on office chairs, in wheelbarrows, and
loaded into trucks and cars as the
Russell Bleck, who witnessed the
attack on the Route 91 Music Festival,
told how some people plugged bullet
wounds with their fingers.
He said: “I saw a lot of ex-military
jump into gear and start plugging bullet-
holes with their fingers.
“ While everyone else was crouching I
saw police officers standing up as targets,
just trying to direct people and tell them
where to go.
“The amount of bravery I saw there,
words can’t describe what it was like.”
Speaking about the moment gunman
Stephen Paddock opened fire, he added:
“ He was just spraying the crowd, it was
relentless, there was no stopping, maybe
five or eight seconds to move from
cover to cover to try and get out as he
Police say at least 59 people died
and more than 527 were injured after
Paddock, 64, attacked concert-goers
with an “arsenal” of weapons from a
room inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
Paddock was shot dead after police
breached the room and got into a
firefight with him. Two officers were
wounded, one of whom required surgery.
Footage from the scene showed people
hitting the ground near the front of the
stage, either wounded or in an attempt
to hide, as gunfire is heard in the
The shots can be heard getting louder
and quieter as Paddock indiscriminately
sprays a stream of bullets from side to
Other videos show thousands of people
streaming away from the venue, while
those unable to escape curl up behind
whatever cover they can find. — AP
Bullet holes ‘plugged with fingers’
PICTURE: Getty Images
People tend to the wounded outside the Route 91 Har vest Country music festival grounds.
‘ You’re going
A woman in the crowd
screamed, “ They’re all around
. . . You’re all going to f—ing die
today,” just 45 minutes before
a gunman opened fire at a Las
Vegas music concert.
The woman, described as
Hispanic and in her 50s, made
the terrifying outburst before
her and a male companion were
escorted out of the venue by
Less than an hour later gunfire
peppered the music festival
crowd turning it into a bloodbath
and sending terrified concert
goers diving for cover.
Brianna Hendricks, who is
in Vegas celebrating her 21st
birthday, said: “ There was a lady
who came running up behind
us in the concert and she started
to play with people’s hair acting
crazy and she told us that we’re
all going to f—ing die.”
She said they were all around us
and we were going to die.
“She was Hispanic, probably
about 5ft 5, brown hair. It felt
like she had knowledge of what
was about to happen, her and her
boyfriend who was also Hispanic.
“The woman was saying her
boyfriend couldn’t breath so they
could get through the crowd.
It seemed she was telling us to
either warn us or she was part of
it and she was telling us because
she knew we were going to die, it
was so scary.”
She and her mother, Shawn
Hendricks, had returned to
their room at the Mandalay Bay
shortly before the shooting began
and were evacuated shortly after.
added: “It was
terrifying, we witnessed the
shooting from our room, we
heard constant gunfire.”
In among crowds at the country
festival another witness who was
in his room on the 32nd floor
of the Mandalay Bay when the
shooting erupted described the
moment hundreds of rounds
were fired from a nearby room.
The man, who asked not to
be named, said: “I was in room
135 and I heard over the police
scanner that the shooting came
from room 137.
“ It was non-stop, I would say
well over 100 rounds. We hit the
floor and took cover.
“ I called the front desk and she
was remarkably calm and said
she was aware of the situation
and told us to stay in our room.
“After around 10-15 minutes it
just kind of stopped. You could
smell the gunpowder.
“ Right before we got out I heard
an explosion, maybe a flash bang,
but windows were blown out.
“The cops came on to the floor
and they were clearing rooms
room by room and six or seven
cops came into our room and we
Other sobbing concert goers
said the gunfire was so intense, it
sounded like July 4.
Derek and Karen Bernard, from
Los Angeles, California, were in
town for the Route 91 country
festival and were close to the stage
when the shooting began. ’We
Derek, 53, said. “All of a sudden,
we saw the band disappearing —
they were running off the stage.
“We were off to theleft sideof
the stage, we were running off
there and there were staff security
“There was a woman bleeding
— that ’s when we realised it was
real shots. She just fell. She was
shot. There was a lot of blood.
“ It was so many — it sounded
like the fourth of July — just
pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. So many.
I didn’t think it was real because
I couldn’t see or feel anything. I
was so panicked. ” — AP
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