On the night of October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. He killed 58 people and wounded 413, with the ensuing panic bringing the injury total to 869. Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, fired more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The shooting occurred between 10:05 and 10:15p.m. PDT; about an hour later, Paddock was found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motive remains officially undetermined.
Las Vegas Village, a 15-acre (6.1-hectare) lot used for outdoor performances, is located diagonally across the intersection to the northeast. From 2014 onward, the venue hosted the annual Route 91 Harvestcountry music festival. The 2017 festival ran from September 29 to October 1, with over 22,000 attendees on the final day.[a]
Paddock was a high-stakes gambler who placed bets at a high enough level to earn valuable comps—free benefits such as rooms and meals. He was a familiar figure to casino hosts in Las Vegas, but was not well known among other high-stakes gamblers because he mostly played video poker. He reportedly kept to himself and was a heavy drinker. Paddock had lost a significant amount of his wealth over the previous two years, but had paid off all gambling debts before the shooting.
Paddock may have considered attacking other events. He had researched large-scale venues in cities such as Boston since at least May 2017, and had reserved a room overlooking the August 2017 Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, but did not use it. According to his girlfriend, she and Paddock were at the Mandalay Bay during an earlier stay a month before the attack when he repeatedly cased out Las Vegas Village from different windows in their room. From September 17, Paddock stayed at The Ogden in Downtown Las Vegas, which overlooked the open-air Life Is Beautiful festival that ran from September 22 to 24. Paddock's Internet search terms from mid-September included "swat weapons", "ballistics chart 308", "SWAT Las Vegas", and "do police use explosives".
Paddock arrived at Mandalay Bay on September 25, 2017. He was booked into Room 32-135, a complimentary room on the 32nd floor. Four days later, he also checked into the directly-connected Room 32-134. Both suites overlook the site of the concert at Las Vegas Village.[b] Between September 25 and October 1—the day of the shooting—he stockpiled an arsenal of weapons, associated equipment and ammunition that included fourteen AR-15 rifles (all of which were equipped with bump stocks and twelve of which had 100-round magazines), eight AR-10 rifles, a bolt-action rifle, and a revolver. A bump stock modifies a semi-automatic weapon so that it can shoot in rapid succession, mimicking automatic fire. Often with the help of hotel bellmen, he brought five suitcases to his room on September 25, seven on the 26th, two on the 28th, six on the 30th, and two on October 1. Cell phone records show that he also made multiple visits to his home in Mesquite. On September 30, he placed "Do not disturb" signs on the doors of both rooms. Before the shooting Paddock spent much of his time at Mandalay Bay gambling, often at night. He interacted with Mandalay Bay employees more than ten times during his stay, including twice on the day of the shooting; an MGM Resorts International spokesperson said they were all "normal in nature".
Schematic of the shooting scene. Paddock indiscriminately fired rifle rounds from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel toward the concertgoers at Las Vegas Village.
The mass shooting occurred between 10:05 and 10:15 p.m. PDT on October 1, 2017, which was the third and final night of the festival. When the shooting began, country music singer Jason Aldean was giving the closing performance.
Shortly before 10:00p.m., hotel security guard Jesus Campos was sent to the 32nd floor to investigate an open-door alert. He attempted to open a door that provided immediate access to the floor, but found that it would not open. After Campos entered the floor, he discovered an L-shaped bracket screwed into the door and door frame, which was responsible for barring the door from opening. After reporting the discovery to his dispatch center, he heard what he thought was the sound of rapid drilling coming from Room 32-135 and went to investigate the matter. At approximately 10:05, he was hit in the right thigh by one of about 35 bullets that Paddock fired through the door of his suite. After Campos was hit, he took cover in the alcove between Rooms 32-122 and 32-124 and immediately informed the hotel by radio and cellphone that he had been shot, though he believed he had been shot with a BB or pellet gun. At the same time, maintenance worker Stephen Schuck was on the same floor to fix the door that Campos had reported as being barricaded. Campos, who was already wounded, encountered Schuck and told him to take cover. Schuck contacted hotel dispatchers over his radio, informed them of the ongoing shooting, and told them to call the police. Neither Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department nor MGM Resorts International, the Mandalay Bay's owner, have confirmed when information about the initial shooting was relayed to the police.
After Paddock used a hammer to break two of the windows in both of his suites, he began shooting through them at 10:05p.m. He ultimately fired over 1,000 rifle rounds approximately 490 yards (450 m) into the festival audience.[c] He initially started out with a few single gunshots before firing in bursts that usually ranged from 80 rounds to 100 rounds. Many people in the crowd initially mistook the gunfire for fireworks. During the shooting, a security fence hindered concertgoers from fleeing the 15-acre concrete lot. The gunfire continued, with some momentary pauses, over the span of ten minutes and ended by 10:15p.m.
In addition to shooting at the concertgoers, Paddock fired eight bullets at a large jet fuel tank at McCarran International Airport 2,000 feet (600 m) away. Two of those bullets struck the exterior of the tank, with one bullet penetrating the tank. The fuel did not explode because jet fuel is mostly kerosene, which is unlikely to ignite when struck by a bullet.
During the shooting, police officers were initially confused whether the shots were coming from the Mandalay Bay, the nearby Luxor hotel, or the festival grounds. There were also multiple false reports of additional shooters at other hotels on the Strip. Officers eventually spotted multiple flashes of gunfire from the middle of the northern side of Mandalay Bay and responded to the hotel. At 10:12p.m., two officers on the 31st floor reported the sounds of gunfire on the floor above them. When officers arrived on the 32nd floor at 10:17p.m. and encountered Campos a minute later, he directed them to Paddock's room and helped others evacuate. Campos was then directed to seek medical attention for himself.
Between 10:26 and 10:30p.m., eight additional officers arrived at the 32nd floor; some of those officers manually breached through the door Paddock had screwed shut with the bracket. The gunfire had ceased, and the police moved systematically down the hallway, searching and clearing each room, using a master key that was provided by Campos. At 10:55p.m., the officers finished evacuating guests. At 11:20p.m., police breached Room 32-135 with explosives. Paddock was found dead on the floor from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Police then breached Room 32-134; while entering the hotel suite, an officer accidentally fired a three-round burst from his weapon, but the bullets did not hit anyone. At 11:27p.m., officers announced over the police radio that a suspect was down.
McCarran International Airport, adjacent to the shooting site, was shut down for several hours. Approximately 300 people entered the airport property as they fled from the shooting. This prompted officials to shut down all four runways. More than 25 flights were rerouted to ensure that no aircraft would be hit by gunfire, while other flights were canceled before airfield operations resumed at 12:40a.m. on October 2.
Much of Las Vegas Boulevard was closed while police SWAT teams combed the venue and neighboring businesses. At approximately 2:45p.m. PDT on October 2, a state of emergency was declared in Clark County. Early on October 2, Sheriff Lombardo identified the suspect as Stephen Paddock.
Fifty-eight people were fatally shot at the music festival; Paddock's suicide was the only death at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The fatalities included 36 women and 22 men. The oldest was 67; the youngest was 20. Six were from Nevada, 35 from California, 13 from other states, and four from Canada. The Clark County Coroner's Office determined that all 58 victims died as a result of gunshot wounds. Thirty-one of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, while the rest were pronounced dead at hospitals.
A 57-year-old woman from Mira Loma, California, was paralyzed in the shooting and died at Redlands Community Hospital in Redlands on November 15, 2019, more than two years later. An autopsy was carried out to establish the cause and manner of her death. On December 18, it was reported that the ruling on the cause and manner of her death was pending because investigators were waiting for laboratory test results.
University Medical Center, the Level I trauma center in Las Vegas, was difficult to access for the more than 50 percent of patients transported by private vehicles because Interstate 15, the most direct route from the shooting location, was closed to the public. Also, an erroneous emergency services announcement made one hour after the shooting reported UMC had reached capacity and was on diversion. This confusion persisted for several hours and led to most patients being transported to Sunrise, a Level II trauma center.
Several persons at the shooting were also present during the November 2018 mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, which left 13 people dead, including the gunman. One person said the number of Las Vegas survivors at the bar may have been as high as 60. It was confirmed that a survivor of the Las Vegas shooting died in the Thousand Oaks shooting.
President Trump and First Lady Melania visit a hospitalized victim.
On the morning after the shooting, lines to donate blood in Las Vegas stretched for blocks. Wait times were as much as six hours or more. In Las Vegas alone, 800 units of blood were donated to the local blood bank in the days following the shooting, and the American Red Cross reported a 53% increase in blood donation in the two days following the shooting. It was later reported that over 15% of the blood donated in Las Vegas after the shooting went unused, prompting questions about the benefit of widespread calls for blood donation following mass shootings. Millions of dollars have also been raised to help victims and their families.
Nevada GovernorBrian Sandoval called the shooting "a tragic and heinous act of violence that has shaken the Nevada family". Jason Aldean, who was singing when the shooting started, posted his condolences on Instagram and noted all of those working with him at the show had survived the attack.
At a press conference, U.S. President Donald Trump described Paddock as "a very very sick individual", and "a demented man, [with] a lot of problems". He added, "the police department has done such an incredible job, and we'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by". A White House official talking points memo, distributed to Trump allies, opposed tightening gun control since "new laws won't stop a mad man", but "will curtail the freedoms of law abiding citizens". On October 2, Trump issued a proclamation to honor the victims and their families. On October 4, Trump visited the shooting victims and first responders.
A unity prayer walk and ceremony was held in Las Vegas on October 7 in honor of the dead. Speakers at the ceremony included Vice President Mike Pence and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. On the evening of October 15, thousands participated in a commemorative 3 mile walk between Circus Circus and Mandalay Bay.
The annual Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon took place on November 12 and was the largest event to be held in the city since the shooting. The event received a massive amount of security, which included 350 officers, counter-sniper surveillance posts, and a number of barriers composed of dump trucks, buses, and other large vehicles.
The expansion Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL held a tribute to the victims and honored response personnel before their inaugural home game on October 10. Later during the season, the number 58 became the first number in team history to be retired, chosen for the 58 deaths during the shooting.
The future of the Las Vegas Village remained undetermined until September 2019. MGM Resorts International intends to create a community center, which will host sporting events.
In March 2019, nearly a year and a half after the shooting, a Las Vegas police officer who was revealed to have been in the 31st floor of the Mandalay Bay, directly underneath Paddock, during the incident but did not immediately respond to the gunfire was fired for his decision to remain in the hallway. However, following an arbitrator's ruling, the officer was reinstated a year later.
On November 6, 2017, Massachusetts became the first state to ban the sale, possession, or use of the devices. In December 2018, Acting United States Attorney GeneralMatthew Whitaker signed a regulation banning bump stocks in the U.S., effective March 2019. The regulation bans new sales and requires current owners to surrender or destroy existing bump stocks.
Eighteen Democratic U.S. Senators introduced a bill, the Keep Americans Safe Act, which would ban gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. Stock prices of firearms manufacturers rose the day after the shooting, as has happened after similar incidents. Investors expected gun sales to increase over concerns that such an event could lead to more stringent gun-control legislation, and possibly due a rush of customers wishing to defend themselves against future attacks, but firearm sales did not increase after the shooting.
In November 2017, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of 450 of the victims of the shooting, which claimed that the Mandalay Bay Hotel had shown negligence by allowing Paddock to bring a large amount of weaponry into the building. In July 2018, MGM Resorts International counter sued hundreds of victims, claiming that it had "no liability of any kind" for the attack. On October 3, 2019, MGM Resorts reached a settlement of between $735 and $800 million with the victims of the shooting.
A British soldier, Trooper Ross Woodward, from the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, who was visiting a nearby hotel while off-duty when the shooting began, was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Bravery for his actions during the event. His citation stated that "he consciously, deliberately and repeatedly advanced towards danger, moving people to safety and treating casualties".
A detective with the Rhode Island State Police, Conor O'Donnell, who was attending the event with his girlfriend, was awarded a service ribbon for his actions.
Assistant Scoutmaster Martin Heffernan was honored by Boy Scouts of America for demonstrating unusual heroism and extraordinary skill in saving or attempting to save a life at extreme risk to self with the Honor Award with Crossed Palms.
According to authorities with the Clark County Commission, the name "1 October" was declared the official title for investigations into the mass shooting.
Investigators found hidden surveillance cameras that were placed inside and outside the hotel room, presumably so Paddock could monitor the arrival of others. The cameras were not in record mode. Police said a handwritten note found in the room indicated Paddock had been calculating the distance, wind, and trajectory from his 32nd floor hotel suite to the concertgoers he was targeting on the festival lot.
At a press conference on October 4, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo stated there was evidence—which he declined to discuss—that Paddock intended to escape the scene, and that he may have had assistance from an accomplice. Investigators searched Paddock's room and found a "bulletproof vest" and breathing apparatus, neither of which were used by Paddock.
There have been several changes in the official account and timeline of Paddock's shooting of hotel security guard Campos. Police officials described these adjustments as "minute changes" that are common in complex investigations.
In their first statement about the incident, police officials inaccurately reported that Campos arrived on the scene after Paddock began firing into the crowd. In a second statement, police officials reported, again inaccurately, that Campos was shot six minutes before Paddock began firing into the crowd. That report had been based on a 9:59 p.m. notation in a hotel security log, which in a third statement was determined to have been the time when Campos encountered the barricaded door.
Sheriff Lombardo dismissed allegations that the changing timeline was the result of some kind of conspiracy between the police department, the FBI, and MGM Resorts International saying, "Nobody is attempting to hide anything in reference to this investigation. The dynamics and the size of this investigation requires us to go through voluminous amounts of information in order to draw an accurate picture."
Police speculate that Paddock acted alone and have not determined his motive. No links have been identified to any hate groups, terrorist groups or ideologies, and he did not record a reason for his actions.
On February 2, 2018, Douglas Haig, an Arizona ammunition dealer, was charged in a Nevada federal court with "conspiracy to manufacture and sell armor-piercing ammunition without a license" after his fingerprints were discovered on unfired armor-piercing ammunition inside Paddock's suite.
Final investigative report
On August 3, 2018, Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo held a press conference on the release of the "LVMPD Criminal Investigative Report of the 1 October Mass Casualty Shooting". He said the 10-month investigation had revealed no evidence of conspiracy or a second gunman, and that the gunman's motive had not been definitely determined. Lombardo said "What we have been able to answer are the questions of who, what, when, where and how... what we have not been able to definitively answer is why Stephen Paddock committed this act." A report published by the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit in January 2019 said that "there was no single or clear motivating factor" for the shooting.
A 4chan/pol/ thread, which misidentified the shooter and described him as a registered Democrat, briefly featured in the "Top Stories" section of a Google search for the shooter's name. The misinformation was circulated by a number of websites including The Gateway Pundit.
Two of Facebook's top trending pages were items from Sputnik, a Russian government news agency. These included one story that falsely claimed the FBI had linked the shooter to a terrorist group. The stories were later removed from Sputnik with an apology.
Stories linking the shooter to the Antifa movement have also been discredited.
The terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) claimed that Paddock was its "soldier" and that he had answered Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's call to attack coalition countries' citizens. ISIS provided no evidence for its claim, and had previously released multiple false claims of responsibility for incidents with which it had no known connection. On October 9, 2017, the FBI declared that Paddock's attack was not linked to international terrorism.
Google and Facebook were criticized for displaying such false news stories in some of their search results. The two technology companies were said to have failed in their responsibility of keeping false stories from reaching the public. Facebook later said its algorithms were designed to detect and remove false stories, but failed to work adequately in this instance.
In the aftermath of the shooting, some media outlets reported that YouTube search results for information about the shooting returned links to conspiracy videos. YouTube stated that it had tweaked its search algorithm to promote news sources which it considered more authoritative. Some experts have stated that the removal of this content ironically fuels conspiracy theories by making a cover-up seem evident.
Survivors of the shooting have been accused of being crisis actors, and some have received death threats on social media.
Conspiracy theorists claim that there were multiple shooters and that details of the massacre are being covered up for the sake of promoting gun control laws.
Berman, Mark (October 12, 2017). "Las Vegas police defend shifting timeline of shooting, warn it could change again". Washington Post. Retrieved October 12, 2017. The revelation from Joseph Lombardo, the Las Vegas sheriff, gave way to a new round of questions, including when information about this shooting was relayed to hotel security and when — or if — that detail was then given to the local police. So far, neither the police or the hotel have offered any answers
Lozada, M. James; Cai, Stephanie; Li, Marissa; Davidson, Stephanie Lynne; Nix, Justin; Ramsey, Glenn (January 2019). "The Las Vegas Mass Shooting: An analysis of blood component administration and blood bank donations". Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. 86 (1): 128–133. doi:10.1097/TA.0000000000002089. ISSN2163-0755. PMID30371625.
Molina, Brett (November 8, 2018). "Some Thousand Oaks victims survived mass shooting in Las Vegas, reports say" [Thousand Oaks bar shooting: Some victims survived Las Vegas attack]. USA Today. Archived from the original on November 8, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018. Some people who survived the Borderline Bar & Grill shooting that left 13 dead, including the gunman, also escaped the mass shooting at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas last year, according to the Los Angeles Times and New York Times. "A lot of people in the Route 91 situation go here," Chandler Gunn, 23, told the LA Times.
Fang, Marina (November 8, 2018). "Some Thousand Oaks Shooting Survivors Also Witnessed Las Vegas Massacre". HuffPost. Archived from the original on November 8, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018. Dozens of people who were at the country music bar outside Los Angeles when a gunman opened fire late Wednesday also survived the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre.... [Nick Champion said,] "I was in the Las Vegas Route 91 mass shooting, as well as probably 50 or 60 others who were in the building at the same time as me tonight."