Deadliest Shooting in U.S. History


David Becker

Concert attendees climb over fences to escape the gun fire.

Amber Reddish, Photojournalist

Every year in Las Vegas Route 91, a popular country music festival takes place. This year, on the last day of the festival, October 1, 2017, a tragic event occurred: the deadliest shooting in U.S. history: The Las Vegas Massacre.

The shooter, Stephen Paddock, was on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, which was located right across the street from the festival. When the shooting began, singer Jason Aldean was on the stage performing as the final headliner of the weekend. During his last song of the night, “Dirt Road Anthem,” bullets began to audibly rain down on the roof of the stage causing many of the fans in the crowd to run for the nearest exits. Jason Aldean remained on stage for a period of time, unable to hear the shots over the music before he followed his band to safety off of the stage.

After the ten-minute span of shots being fired, those that weren’t injured fled the scene of the shooting, although many were hindered by fences and other obstacles. Paddock had a total of 17 guns in his hotel suite and was shooting out of two separate windows which he had previously broken. About an hour after his last shot was fired, Paddock shot himself in the mouth successfully committing suicide, just as the police arrived and broke down his hotel room door.

Many of the concert attendees headed to the nearby airport for safety. Little did they know Paddock had aimed, and would continue, to aim for the planes in a futile attempt to cause an explosion with their gas tanks. Although he did succeed in hitting the tanks, luckily for Americans, he was unable to penetrate them; even if he was successful, the lack of oxygen in the tanks would have prevented the tanks from an explosion.

It is unconfirmed whether or not Paddock had an accomplice, but there are a few things that do not add up. Paddock had a long-term girlfriend who had fled the country earlier in the week. This is slightly suspicious timing since Paddock then checked into a large suite and committed mass murder. There was also a woman at the concert who, just 45 minutes before the shooting, told multiple people “You are all going to die today.” She hasn’t been publicly identified other than being described as a Hispanic in her fifties. She was kicked out of the concert along with a man after saying this to multiple people and causing a scene. Paddock also transferred over ten thousand dollars into an overseas account right before coming to Vegas.

All of these suspicious inconsistencies bring up a striking question: was Paddock working alone? Hopefully with the continued investigation, the truth will be discovered and justice will be served. More importantly, with the continuously increasing amount of information, we will be able to discover ways to prevent future events like this from happening again. Many will ¨never forget October 1, 2017,¨ says Katarina Alegria (11), ¨it was a tragedy that hit our whole country,” not just the concert attendees.

It is times like this that require us to unite as a country and come together to support all the families and people affected by this tragedy. October 1st, 2017 will forever be remembered by all Americans. With 58 deaths and 515 injuries of varying degrees, much support is needed for the affected victims. If you would like to help these families in need you can donate at Help those who have lost their loved ones, and make a difference in whatever way you can.