A retiree armed with multiple assault rifles strafed an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas from a high-rise hotel window on Sunday, slaughtering at least 59 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history before killing himself.
The barrage of gunfire from the 32nd-floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of 22,000 people came in extended bursts that lasted several minutes, as throngs of terrified music fans desperately cowered on the open ground, hemmed in by fellow concertgoers, while others at the edge tried to flee. (AFP)
The preliminary death toll, which officials said could rise, surpassed last year's record massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, by a gunman who pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
The dead in Las Vegas included a nurse, a government employee and an off-duty police officer.
Shocked survivors, some with blood on their clothing, wandered streets after the shooting, where the flashing lights of the city's gaudy casinos blended with those of emergency vehicles. (AFP)
Federal officials said there was no evidence to link Paddock to militant organizations.
"We have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group," Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field office in Las Vegas, told reporters. (AFP)
The suspected shooter's brother, Eric Paddock, said the family was stunned by the news.
"We're horrified. We're bewildered, and our condolences go out to the victims," Eric Paddock said in a telephone interview, his voice trembling. "We have no idea in the world."
Las Vegas's casinos, nightclubs and shopping draw some 3.5 million visitors from around the world each year and the area was packed with visitors when the shooting started shortly after 10 p.m. local time (0400 GMT). (AFP)