Around 10 p.m on Sunday, October 1, a lone shooter with no known history of violence opened fire on an unsuspecting crowd of over 22,000 people that had gathered for a country music festival in Las Vegas.
The shooter, 64 year-old Stephen Paddock, was armed with handguns, shotguns and a plentiful stock of ammunition in his 32nd-floor hotel room in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Paddock reportedly fired for nine minutes after the first 911 call was placed, leaving at least 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.
By the time police reached Paddock’s hotel room, they found him deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said Paddock lived in Mesquite, Nevada, and had no criminal history.
Authorities were investigating if the massacre is an act of domestic terrorism—a designation that is determined by whether or not Paddock appeared to intend to “intimidate or coerce a civilian population,” or “influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion,” according to the Patriot Act.
Not long after the shooting, the Islamic State claimed the massacre, alleging that Paddock had converted to Islam and was a “son” of the terror organization. However, the FBI does not believe Paddock has any links to international terrorism.
A GoFundMe page started in the wake of the mass shooting has already raised over $8 million of its $10 million goal to provide financial support for survivors and victims’ families. Many of the victims have been publicly identified, and stories of heroism and selflessness in the midst of chaos and fear have surfaced and been shared across the media.
— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) October 2, 2017
This tragic event in Las Vegas marks the 153rd mass shooting in 2017, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organization that defines “mass shootings” as incidents in which “FOUR or more [are] shot and/or killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location not including the shooter.”
Readers who would like to donate to the GoFundMe campaign can do so via the link below.