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.
A maniac fired several rounds of automatic gunfire from his 32nd floor perch, striking more than 100 people among the thousands listening to country musician Jason Aldean perform at the Route 91 Harvest festival around 10 p.m. local time.
Bursts of gunshots continued even as Aldean fled the stage and his 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 and searched the Vegas resort floor-by-floor in hushed voices, before cornering the suspected shooter in a room on the 32nd floor. Officers blasted open the door and killed the gunman.
He was identified in CBS and NBC news reports as Stephen Paddock.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Paddock lived in the Las Vegas area and that he likely acted alone.
The gunman’s deadly carnage waged from the high-rise hotel 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.
Another officer from an unspecified agency was critically wounded.
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.
Mass Shooting at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
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 International Airport. The panic prompted the airport to halt all flights for hours as police investigated the shooting.
Brooklyn poker player James (Action Jim) Boccanfuso and his pal, Ruslan Krasikov, missed the bloodshed by minutes.
The New Yorkers left the Mandalay Bay in an Uber for their flight to Chicago, and encountered floods of people, some bloodied, looking for refuge at the airport.
The terrified concertgoers wanted their ride and tried opening the car door, “thinking the doors were unlocked,” Krasikov said..
“They were begging to get into the car with us,” Boccanfuso told the Daily News. “Never in my life did I see people running for their lives.”
“The people were scared to death,” he said.
Police radio transmissions revealed a chaotic, confusing scene, with SWAT officers closing in on the suspect in his Mandalay Bay hideout. 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.
MGM Resorts International said in a statement locked down many of its nearby hotels due to the spreading chaos along the southern end of the Strip, per the advice of law enforcement.
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 News Wire Services
Valerie Miller reported from Las Vegas