Las Vegas Shooting Is The Deadliest Mass Shooting In U.S. History

Oct 2, 2017
Originally published on October 2, 2017 11:44 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's turn right to Las Vegas, which has become the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. More than 50 people are confirmed dead after a gunman opened fire on a country music concert on the strip. More than 200 people, we're told, have been wounded.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Singer Jason Aldean was performing his set outdoors, thousands of people outside, when a gunman, we're told, stuck the weapon out of a window of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and began firing what sounded like hundreds of shots from what sounded like it could have been an automatic weapon. We have tape from the scene recorded by Russell Bleck, and we should warn you, it is going to be hard to listen to.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUNFIRE)

GREENE: OK. So the police in Las Vegas have identified the suspect as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. They say he has been killed. This is Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOSEPH LOMBARDO: Obviously, this is a tragic incident and one that we have never experienced in this valley.

GREENE: All right. And we're joined by NPR's Leila Fadel, who is on the line from Las Vegas, and NPR's Scott Detrow is here in the studio with us in Washington. Hello to you both.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Good morning.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Hello.

GREENE: Leila, I want to - I want to start with you. What exactly do we know right now about Stephen Paddock, who's been identified as the suspect and described as a lone wolf, and others who might be involved here?

FADEL: What we know is that he is a resident of Clark County, that he was checked into the hotel, that police found several firearms inside his room described as rifles and that police have located the two vehicles that they were looking for connected to him. And they think they've located a woman described as his companion, as his roommate, a woman named Marilou Danley. Other than that, there's not much we know right now. And we especially don't know what his motive was when he opened fire on all these people attending a concert last night.

GREENE: Some important things to work through. I mean, you said rifles. I mean, just the sound of those - of that gunfire. It's going to be very important for police to work through exactly what was being fired there. I mean, it sounds like some kind of automatic weapon.

FADEL: That's right. I asked what type of weaponry was in that room, and no details were given. They were just described as several and rifles. They are searching the hotel room right now. They're also executing a search warrant on his residence in Clark County. So we're expecting more details to come out about what exactly he was armed with and why he might have done this.

GREENE: All right, and so we have this lone wolf. We have them interested in a woman who is described to be a companion of his or somehow associated with him. But it sounds like the danger police are saying is no longer right now. I mean, the danger has gone away. There's no one out there who might have a weapon or something. But the news of people killed - it just keeps jumping. We went from a few to police saying more than 20 to just recently more than 50. This is astonishing.

FADEL: Yes, and I'd like to emphasize that the sheriff said 50-plus, 200-plus. They're really not sure how many yet. And that's why he said it that way. So this number may jump even higher, which is the most shocking thing this evening, one man being able to kill so many people at an outdoor concert last night.

GREENE: And what questions are you trying to answer as you keep reporting on this in the hours ahead?

FADEL: Well, I think the big questions right now are why - why this happened, why he did this, but also there are so many people out there who were wounded, who were killed tonight, and their loved ones are looking for them. The - Sheriff Lombardo gave out a phone number, spoke about a staging area at the Metro police headquarters but also looking at who was wounded, who was killed, a lot of these people coming from out of town for a concert like this. You know, Las Vegas is a city of tourism.

GREENE: Yeah. All right. NPR's Leila Fadel in Las Vegas. I'm sure we'll be hearing much more from you throughout the day, Leila. Thanks.

FADEL: Thank you.

GREENE: NPR's Scott Detrow has been following this from Washington. Scott, I just - the words don't come easily out of my mouth - deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.

DETROW: That's right. And when you compare it to the shootings that are seared in our memory, that becomes even more striking. It's now deadlier than the Pulse nightclub shooting, than Sandy Hook, than Virginia Tech. This is obviously going to dominate conversation for days and weeks to come. That official response is just beginning this morning. President Trump regularly tweets before 7 o'clock.

GREENE: Yeah.

DETROW: So far this morning, we've heard nothing from the president, no official statements from the White House. You do have a lot of comments, reactions, from members of Congress. Just to read a couple - Representative Dean Heller in Nevada, a Republican, saying senseless, horrifying act of violence in Las Vegas tonight. Praying for all the victims and those impacted by the tragedy. That's by and large what we're hearing from all members of Congress, from senators, who are weighing in at this moment.

GREENE: And of course, we'll hear from the president at some point as he is also dealing with, I mean, the devastating situation in Puerto Rico where he is going tomorrow.

DETROW: That's right. We're focused on this now, but Puerto Rico is still without power, without water. It's still a major crisis for him to deal with.

GREENE: OK. NPR's Scott Detrow. Scott, thanks.

DETROW: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.