Casino music massacre
Police SWAT teams enter the ground floor of the Mandalay Bay resort and casino, preparing to neutralise 64- year- old shooter Stephen Paddock
Paddock had prepared thoroughly, assembling a large personal arsenal and scouting several potential target areas in Las Vegas and other cities. A big- time gambler, he was known at numerous casinos as a high- roller who qualified for free food, rooms and entertainment – a practice known in casinos as ‘ comping’ and intended to keep gamblers with deep pockets coming back.
He was staying in a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel on 1 October 2017 when, without warning and seemingly without motive, he took aim from his room overlooking the Route 91 festival. He then fired over 1,100 rounds into the crowd with numerous different weapons: he had 24 guns, ranging from a revolver to semi- automatic AR- 15 rifles ( a weapon commonly used in mass shootings) that were later identified as his. Many thousands of people had arrived for the Route 91 music festival expecting sun, fun and country music.
With 59 deaths ( including shooter Stephen Paddock) and 851 non- fatal injuries – 422 by gunfire and the rest in the resulting panic, – the 2017 Las Vegas massacre became the USA’s largest massacre committed by a single individual.
His crime again ignited the USA’s gun control debate, especially around the availability of ‘ bump firing stocks’, which are attachments allowing semi- automatic rifles to work at almost fully automatic rates of fire. Possessing most fully automatic weapons is illegal under Federal law – owning a ‘ bump stock’ allows shooters to skirt those laws at will.