By: Kimberly Trice
Perched in his suite at a high-rise hotel overlooking the Vegas Strip, a 64-year-old man with no criminal record and no known affiliations with terror groups rained bullets down into a crowd at a country music festival, killing at least 59 people and injuring hundreds more in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
The attack, at least initially, was as inexplicable as it was horrifying. Law enforcement officials said they could not immediately tell what drove Stephen Paddock to fire at thousands of unsuspecting concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino before killing himself. Even today the officials say he had no signs of depression or thoughts of committing that horrific attack.
He was the son of a notorious bank robber and his own crime demonstrated some amount of sophisticated planning. Police said he stayed in a large hotel suite for several days and aroused no suspicion, bringing with him an arsenal of 23 guns — their calibers ranging from .223 to .308, some with scopes — authorities said. One of the weapons he apparently used in the attack was an AK-47 type rifle, with a stand used to steady it for firing, people familiar with the case said. He fired, without warning, from an elevated position on an open-air venue, leaving his victims few options to avoid harm.
More than 22,000 people had been at the Route 91 Harvest festival, a three-day country music concert with grounds across the street from the Mandalay Bay resort, when the shooting began about 10 p.m. Sunday, according to police. As country star Jason Aldean played what was expected to be one of the last sets of the night, Paddock opened fire — his bullets flying from a window on the casino’s golden facade, which Paddock had smashed before hand. Aldean fled the stage. Thousands raced for safety under the neon glow and glitz of the Vegas Strip. Concerts are supposed to be a get away for people and their daily lives but Paddock made it a nightmare.