On October 1, 2017, one of the largest massacres in U.S. history took place in Las Vegas. That Sunday started off as an exciting festival day for the concert goers and evidently morphed completely. The plan was to attend the Jason Aldean concert, part of the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Little did the innocent concert goers know that Stephen Paddock was standing in their way of a fun, uneventful night. The results were 58 fatalities and 500 injuries.
Stephen Paddock, the shooter of this incident, was located in a hotel room overlooking the festival. Specifically, he booked a room in Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. In that hotel room, guns were loaded with ammunition and ready to be fired, as well as cameras set up in various places. It was predicted by authorities that the cameras were set up to capture everyone who came in or near Paddock’s room. The concert started and soon the shooting took place.
As gunshots were heard, the people mistaked them for fireworks, a tradition in festival celebrations. Many were confused as to why hundreds of people were fleeing until officers yelled at them to join the fleet as the shooting increased in intensity. One witness, Stephen Schuck, a maintenance man for the hotel, stated in an interview for the TODAY show, “I started to hear shots ring out,” and additionally added, “I am incredibly blessed that somehow I came out of there alive,”. The total fatality count was 58 but the shooter contributed one more addition to the fatality count; he committed suicide after the shooting.
In total, 42 guns were found in Paddock’s hotel room and home. Additionally, the authorities are debating on whether the massacre was domestic terrorism and if it is the right label to place on the events that took place that ominous night of October 1st.
Authorities state that the massacre was thoughtfully and meticulously planned. At the time, Paddock had a girlfriend, Marilou Danley, and she was located in Manila when the tragedy took place. As soon as she flew back to America, police took her in and interviewed her. The result being that she was completely innocent; she was not aware that Stephen Paddock had a plan to murder a mass of people insensitively. To this day, the reasons of his actions are unexplainable according to authorities, family members, and friends.
Photography by: David Becker and San Diego Union-Tribune