LAS VEGAS (CelebrityAccess) — 59 people are dead and 527 injured after an assailant opened fire on a crowd during a performance by Jason Aldean the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event held at the Mandalay Bay Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Videos posted online show Aldean performing in front of the crowd at the festival when the gunman opened fire with what sounded like an automatic rifle shortly after 10 p.m., sending thousands of people fleeing or seeking cover.
Initial reports suggest the suspect opened fire from a hotel room window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel that looked out over the festival grounds.
Police identified the alleged attacker as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a resident of Mesquite, Nev., about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, who police say was killed at the scene. They believe he was the sole gunman.
An Asian female who may have been a companion of the alleged shooter, identified as named Marilou Danley, has been located, Police said.
“We believe the individual killed himself,” said Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on CNN.
Now in its fourth year, the Route 91 Harvest festival is staged by Live Nation and MGM Resorts. All 25,000 tickets for the three-day event had sold out.
Despite being on stage Aldean, his band, and crew escaped physical injury during the attack and later expressed his shock and dismay on social media.
"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," he wrote on Instagram after the tragedy unfolded. "My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night."
If the preliminary casualty reports are accurate, this is the deadliest mass shooting event in U.S. history, eclipsing the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando in 2016 that left 49 people dead.