Hundreds of bullets rained down on a jam-packed outdoor concert at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino along the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing at least 20 people and wounding scores more as terrified spectators ran for their lives, according to police and hospital officials.
Several rounds of automatic gunfire interrupted the Route 91 Harvest festival around 10 p.m. local time, as country musician Jason Aldean was performing at the popular Nevada casino.
Bursts of gunshots continued even as the music came to a halt. Panicked concertgoers screamed and tripped over each other while trying to escape — not knowing where the gunfire was coming from, according to a minute-long footage of the mass assault.
Police rushed to the besieged hotel, searching the Vegas resort floor-by-floor until cornering the suspected shooter in a room on the 32nd floor.
Officers blasted the door open and killed the gunman. He was not immediately identified.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said the gunman was a local resident of the Las Vegas area and that he acted alone.
The gunman’s deadly carnage was evident on the deserted concert grounds below.
Multiple people, some covered in blood, could be seen lying on the grass while others in cowboy hats and blue jeans cowered close to the ground, which was littered with abandoned cups and aluminum cans minutes after the attack.
Lombardo was unable to provide an accurate number of the casualties but said more than 100 people were shot and more than 20 people had died.
He said off-duty police officers were among the dead.
Several members of another police force — from southern California — were among the concertgoers.
A statement from the Bakersfield Police Department said one of their off-duty cops suffered non-life threatening injuries. The officer was not immediately identified.
The visiting officers were unable to return fire, the statement read.
Mass Shooting at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
Hours after the attack, Aldean issued a brief statement telling fans he and his crew escaped the stage unharmed.
“Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe,” Aldean said in an Instagram post.
The artist that opened for Aldean, Jake Owens, tweeted that he witnessed the shooting at the third night of the Las Vegas festival. He warned millions of his followers of the attack.
“Gun shots!!! Vegas. Pray to god. Love you guys. Love you Pearl,” Owens tweeted, mentioning his young daughter.
Stampedes of frightened people flooded multiple streets along the Strip — and a runway at the nearby McCarran Airport. The panic prompted the airport to halt all flights for hours as police investigated the shooting.
Police radio transmissions revealed a chaotic, confusing scene, with SWAT officers closing in on the suspect in his high-rise hideout at the Mandalay Bay. Other police units scrambled to other hotels on the Strip to determine if multiple reports of additional shootings on the strip were real, diversions or false alarms.
Lombardo said authorities were also searching for two vehicles associated with the suspected shooter, and that his roommate, identified as Marilou Danley, was wanted for questioning.
Officials with the NYPD acknowledged the startling Vegas attack and said they are monitoring.
With John Annese