The Playwickian

Las Vegas recovers from mass shooting

Catherine Hilliard, News Editor

Thousands of concert goers gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on Oct. 1, hearing country singer Jason Aldean’s headliner performance drowned out by gunshots. Aldean rushed off stage amid gunfire as the terrified crowd scrambled for cover, some stopping to help the injured, making make-shift stretchers from police barricades.
The shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, overlooked the crowd of spectators from 400 yards away in the 32-floor window in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 people and injuring 527. Paddock had set up multiple hidden surveillance cameras in and around his hotel room to watch for approaching SWAT teams; officials believe that Paddock killed himself prior to their entry into the hotel room. Officials found Paddock dead in his hotel room with 23 guns, a dozen of them equipped with bump stocks that would allow for rapid fire among thousands of rounds of ammunition that was never fired, in addition to 19 more firearms found in his residential home.
Two broken windows can be seen from the 32-floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, as law enforcement officials believe Paddock smashed out both windows with a hammer to either get a better vantage point on the crowd or to avoid return fire. The worst mass shooting in modern American history, Paddock was “solely responsible for the heinous act,” Assistant Clark County Sheriff Todd Fasulo told reporters. “My heart goes out to everyone affected by this horrible act, senior Charles Marone stated, “not only is it disappointing, but heartbreaking, that someone could take so many innocent lives like this.”
Las Vegas officials are still uncertain whether Paddock requested a room on a high floor that overlooked the music festival. Hotel employees reported that they had been inside his room multiple times prior to the shooting and didn’t find anything unusual.
Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who U.S. authorities have described as a “person of interest”, recently returned to the U.S. on Oct. 5 from the Philippines, the FBI hoping to retain information on Paddock’s motive and whether Paddock encouraged Danley to leave the country before the shooting. A senior U.S. homeland security official also confirmed the investigation of a $100,000 wire transfer from Paddock sent to the Philippines that seemed to be intended for Danley. Investigators are working under the assumption that the wire transfer is a form of life insurance payment for Danley. Fellow country singer Jake Owen reported he was standing about 50 feet from Aldean when the shots rang out during his performance. “It got faster and faster, almost like it was an automatic rifle,” Owen said. “At that point, everyone on stage started running everywhere.”
As Owen ran for cover, he saw victims covered in blood and eventually found shelter in his bus, as gunfire continued. “It wasn’t something that was quick. It was chaos for a pure seven to 10 minutes,” he said.
Flags at the White House and U.S. Capitol were lowered at half-staff on Oct. 2; the shooting has not been connected to international terrorism. President Trump told citizens he would be visiting Las Vegas on Oct. 4, calling the shooting “an act of pure evil.”
“Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the loss of a loved one,” Trump stated at a news conference. “We cannot fathom their pain. We cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you, and we are here for you.”

The Student News Site of Neshaminy High School
Las Vegas recovers from mass shooting