At first, 22,000 people watching a Jason Aldean concert outside the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas thought they were hearing some early post-gig fireworks over the music. No one knew it at the time, but it was automatic weapons fire coming from above.
At 10:08 pm local time, Aldean had launched into his song “When She Says Baby” towards the end of the Route 91 Harvest Concert, a shooter from a room on the 32nd floor of the hotel opened fire in a barrage that lasted at least ten minutes.
EYEWITNESS: Chilling footage of moment active shooter opened fire on concert goers near Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas pic.twitter.com/7OfAwg0ReO
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) October 2, 2017
To do this, the shooter–the suspect is 64 year-old Stephen Paddock–would have needed multiple rifles and multiple magazines. Once one weapon got too hot or ran out of ammunition, he had another ready go to. Reports say that cops did in fact find a huge cache of weapons in the hotel room, including about ten rifles. What kind of munitions do you need for continuous automatic weapon fire for ten solid minutes?
Listen to the gunfire in the background of this clip. Jeezus.
— Stake Z. Back ▲ (@Stake18) October 2, 2017
This is the worst mass shooting in US history. And talk about a soft target: gunfire raining down on a concert crowd–a mass of humanity inside a secured plaza with only so many exits–from 32 floors up. This is literally the definition of shooting fish in a barrel. And in a plaza like this, you have no idea where the shots may be coming from.
How do you provide security for something like that?
A lot of the injured are suffering from trampling injuries.
Word is that Paddock is a Nevada resident who lived about 80 miles away from Las Vegas. He checked into the hotel on September 28, so authorities will want to interview people who may have seen him or had any interactions. For example, what did the housekeeping staff see when (if?) they cleaned the room? How did he get all those guns into the room? (Speculation: Golf bags and other normal-looking luggage brought in over the days after he checked into adjoining rooms back on September 28. He certainly just didn’t snap. This was planned.
When I was at a music conference in Asia last month, I attended a panel on concert security. At the time, the big thing on everyone’s mind was the Manchester bombing, so the focus was on enhanced venue security, more cops on the streets outside, bomb-sniffing dogs, CCTV cameras and evacuation procedures. One panelist talked about the imminent use of drones to survey a crowd from above.
But again, this is all following stuff that’s happening on the ground. This is not only death from above but from across the street.
The shooter is dead. Police say that he took his own life after the cops breached his hotel room. He was tracked to that room partly because the smoke from his guns set off the smoke detectors.
At least two Canadians are reported among the 58 who were killed. More than 500(!!!) were injured.