Route 91 is a country music festival which has been held ever since 2014. The festival has attracted dozens of thousands of music fans every year – but on October 1st, 2017, nobody expected the show to be interrupted by 11 minutes of pure massacre.
It was 10:08 p.m. when the crowd was starting to warm up as country singer Jason Aldean was on stage. The concert was interrupted by an extremely loud noise – and it wasn’t long until the 22,000 participants understood what it was: gunshots.
The first fire round lasted for what could have been a couple of minutes, only to start again within seconds. Overall, the gunshots lasted between 10-15 minutes, exactly 11 minutes since the first 911 call was made. As it was found later on, the attack caused 59 victims who died on the spot and hurt more than 500; some got bullet wounds while others got bruises from running towards the nearest exit.
The shooting came from room 32135 of the Mandalay Bay Resort. Inside the luxury suite, Stephen Paddock was surrounded by ten suitcases filled with weapons, explosives and extra munition. As police officers arrived at the door, Paddock started shooting towards them and shot a policeman in the leg. The team backed down and decided to wait for the SWAT teams to come over. Meanwhile, Stephen Paddock killed himself.
But who is this evil shooter after all? As authorities found, Stephen Paddock is a 64-year-old resident of Mesquite, Nevada. The former accountant was retired, divorced twice and had no children. As Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo explains, “We have to establish what his motivation was first.” But so far, no motives were found.
Although some supporters of the terrorist group ISIS claimed they were responsible for the attack, the police tend to disagree as they have no real evidence on this theory. What we do know for a fact is that Paddock planned his attack days ahead, as he checked in at the hotel on September 28th.
However, both the shooter’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, and his brother, Eric, claim there was nothing unusual about his life. As Eric Paddock recently declared, “He was my brother and it’s like an asteroid fell out of the sky.” But some things still raise eyebrows when it comes to the author of the massacre.
Firstly, Stephen Paddock had a secret account based in the Philippine to which he constantly sent large amounts of money. His last transfer, of $100,000, has an unknown recipient and the police are investigating the matter. Also, Paddock’s father was on the FBI’s most wanted list of bank robbers and recently died in prison. Furthermore, the shooter had been working for the government as a spokesperson for 10 years, although his former career is quite vague at the moment.
With 59 victims and more than 500 people hurt, the Las Vegas shooting is the biggest massacre of the modern US history. The Pulse nightclub shooting of Orlando comes second, with 49 victims. Right now, legislation regarding the right to own a weapon is under discussion.