By Helen Witte
The United States experienced its deadliest mass shooting in Las Vegas, NV, at the Route 91 Harvest Festival with over 22,000 people in attendance. As of Tuesday morning, 59 people have died and 527 people have been injured.
Country singer Jason Aldean was performing when the shots were fired. Concertgoers stated that the shooting continued for six to ten minutes.
During that time, people assisted the injured, took cover behind cars, ran away, climbed over and under chain-linked fences, and hid in offices surrounding the festival grounds.
Hospitals in the area overflowed with victims and there were not nearly enough ambulances to take the wounded to the hospitals.
As a result, some people drove themselves and others to the emergency room.
The gunman was a 64-year-old man named Stephen Paddock. He was staying in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, which was right across the street from the concert.
Paddock fired shots from his room on the 32nd floor onto the crowd of people below.
Police stated that they found 23 firearms in Paddock’s room, some of which had been converted into semi-automatic weapons.
In addition, he had 19 more firearms in his house about 80 miles away from Las Vegas in Mesquite, NV. When the police and SWAT team found Paddock’s room, he shot through the hotel door and wounded a police officer. Paddock then killed himself.
Despite a release from ISIS that Paddock was “a soldier from the Islamic State,” the F.B.I. has determined that Paddock had no known connections with ISIS and was probably a “lone-wolf” shooter.
Many government officials reacted to the massacre.
“Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence, and though we feel such great anger, at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today,” President Trump stated. He also ordered all flags to fly at half-staff until Oct. 6.
President Trump’s reaction to the shooting has been criticized by those who said that it was muted compared to his previous reactions against attacks throughout the world.
Taylor Link, a writer for “Salon,” states, “Trump often tweets about terror and violence, but says a whole lot of nothing when the suspects are white or the victims are people of color.”
This massacre has renewed the discussion on gun laws in the U.S. While Democrats have started to put pressure on their Republican colleagues to take action, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated, “there’s a time and place for a political debate, but now is time to unite as a country.”
Editor’s Note: This is a developing news story. Facts mentioned in this article may have changed by the time of publication of “The Simmons Voice.”