On this day in 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowd attending the final night of a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring more than 800. Although the shooting only lasted 10 minutes, the death and injury tolls made this massacre the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history at the time of the attack.
Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old retired man who lived in Mesquite, Nevada, targeted the crowd of concert-goers on the Las Vegas strip from the 32 floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. He had checked into the hotel several days before the massacre.
Paddock began firing at the crowd at 10:05 p.m. using an arsenal of 23 guns, 12 of which were upgraded with bump stocks – a tool used to fire semi-automatic guns in rapid succession. Within the 10-minute period, he was able to fire more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition.
An open-door alert sent hotel security guard Jesus Campos to investigate the 32 floor at the start of the shooting. After arriving on the floor via the stairs, Campos couldn’t get past a barricade blocking the entrance so he used the elevator instead. While walking through the hall, he heard a drilling sound coming from Paddock’s room and was shot in the leg, through the door.
Once authorities were alerted, they arrived at Paddock’s suite at 10:17 p.m. and didn’t breach for nearly another hour at 11:20 p.m. Paddock was found dead by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His motives remain unknown.
In addition to the arsenal of weaponry found in Paddock’s hotel room, a note calculating how to attack the crowd based on trajectory and distance was also found. Authorities concluded that Paddock had no connections with terrorist groups such as ISIS and that his planned attack was carried out without accomplices.
The deadly shooting horrified the country and sparked debate over gun control legislation once again, with gun-control advocates claiming that Paddock’s use of bump stocks led to increased causalities. In response, President Trump said that he was open to banning the product, but would want to learn more about them first. One year following the shooting, 11 states had banned bump stocks and more than a dozen additional states and cities were considering bans.