58°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

‘It was a horror show’: Mass shooting leaves at least 59 dead, 527 wounded on Las Vegas Strip

Updated October 3, 2017 - 3:20 am

The nation awoke Monday to the numbing news that the worst mass shooting in modern American history had ravaged the Las Vegas Strip.

It was a deadly ambush in a city built as an open invitation to the world.

“I just kept thinking to myself, ‘This isn’t real. This is not happening. This is not real,’” Lisa Schau, of Sacramento, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal near the scene. “I just kept thinking that over and over. And it was.”

But the staggering carnage — at least 59 dead and 527 injured — brought out the best in Las Vegas Valley residents. They rushed to help the wounded; donated blood, supplies and money; and prayed en masse for victims and their families.

A Mesquite man perched on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay shot through his corner suite’s windows, then sprayed bullets into a crowd of thousands at an outdoor country music festival late Sunday, just east of the hotel. (Wes Rand/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

It was confusion, then chaos. Some attendees thought fireworks were ringing out just as Jason Aldean began singing the first few lines of his hit “When She Says Baby” at the Route 91 Harvest festival. But as the rapid-fire shots continued and people began falling, the crowd collectively realized the horror that was happening. And they ran.

First responders descended on the scene. Civilians did their part, too, taking truckloads of wounded to local trauma units. The injured were moved in wheelbarrows and on luggage carts, and more than 100 people were treated at University Medical Center alone.

Before the sun rose Monday, Sheriff Joe Lombardo stood in the dark parking lot of Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, steeling himself as he explained to the public and global news media that the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, had acted alone.

Shortly after, Gov. Brian Sandoval called it a “cowardly, despicable act.”

‘We’re angry’

On Monday afternoon, Sandoval declared a state of emergency and a public health and medical disaster in Clark County.

“We’re angry. We’re grieving. Confused,” the governor said. “People are hurting.”

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said the city has a broken heart, “but it has bonded us so tightly.”

“We will not be tarnished by this sick, horrible human being,” Goodman said.

About an hour after shots first rang out, officers closed in on Paddock’s room, which he checked into on Thursday, Lombardo said. In seconds, Paddock shot through the door, injuring a security guard. Then he turned the gun on himself.

Inside, police found scopes and at least 23 firearms. Later, investigators found ammonium nitrate, a chemical compound that can be used in homemade bombs, inside Paddock’s car at Mandalay Bay.

On the streets below, red-and-blue lights speckled the Strip, drowning out its famous neon. Many who escaped the venue or ran from casinos in the confusion walked aimlessly. Some dragged luggage, others still wore blood-drenched clothing, the color drained from their faces.

Anxious and weary

While University Medical Center absorbed the worst of the wounded, Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center quickly became overwhelmed, too.

About 12 hours after the ordeal began, Deserie Bohl, 35, sat in the east valley hospital’s small surgical waiting room as her husband underwent surgery. Next to her sat several others, praying and checking their phones. Some paced, looking anxious and weary. The silence was deafening.

Occasionally, a doctor or surgeon would pop in, calling out the name of a patient. Like clockwork, a swarm of loved ones would rush over, huddling to hear the news.

Robert Kyander, of San Bernardino, California, sat in limbo, his head down. His daughter, Lauren, and her boyfriend, Zach, both 21, had been at the festival all weekend. Zach was shot in the back.

Hours earlier, the 55-year-old Kyander had been at home, watching the Sunday night news when headlines about the shooting began ticking across his screen.

Panicked, he bolted to Las Vegas. Just before he left, he got a text from Zach:

“Hey this is Zach, I got shot in the back, but I made your daughter run like hell. I am truly sorry I’m not with her, but she is safe with Jodie. Love you both, I’ll keep you updated.”

When he got to the hospital, Kyander found Lauren waiting in the lobby. He wrapped her in his arms. (Wes Rand/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“I didn’t want to let go,” he said. “I’m just so glad my daughter was OK.”

Many others never experienced that relief.

Suspect’s Mesquite home

As the Las Vegas community hauled itself out of bed to help, collecting water and food for first responders and victims’ families, authorities swarmed the shooter’s Mesquite home.

Inside, they found explosives, 19 additional firearms and several thousand rounds of ammunition, the sheriff said.

Police initially asked the public to help locate Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, whom they named as a person of interest. But before dawn, law enforcement had touched base with her and ruled her out as a suspect.

As of late Monday, Paddock’s motive remained a mystery.

As the sun began to set, hundreds of Las Vegas locals and tourists gathered at vigils throughout the valley to mourn, weep and share in their disbelief. Las Vegas Review-Journal)

In front of Las Vegas City Hall, sorrowful singing grew into triumphant chants of “Hallelujah” and “Jesus.”

Silverado High School student Ethan Dimayo stood alongside his younger brothers holding a sign that read “We Are Strong, We Are Battle Born.”

“It’s really inspiring to see all these people come out and pray,” he said.

Tony Barber heard about the shooting Monday morning. He took his 5-year-old grandson to the vigil.

“It’s important to pay homage and lend support to the city as a whole,” Barber said.

In the central valley, at the International Church of Las Vegas, faith and community leaders from several different backgrounds comforted a crowd of about 150.

Many attendees sniffled between sermons and speeches from Clark County Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Steve Sisolak. One woman sat on the far end of a back-of-the-room bench, a stack of balled-up tissues to her right.

“I think there’s great value in being with community at these times,” said Wendy Kraft, 57, an involved member of the Jewish community. “I’m saddened to my core. … I feel so very helpless.”

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter. Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter. Contact Anita Hassan at ahassan@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4643. Follow @anitasnews on Twitter. Contact Jamie Munks at jmunks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow @JamieMunksRJ on Twitter. Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Blake Apgar, Michael Scott Davidson, Jeff German, Rio Lacanlale, Max Michor, Wade Millward, Todd Prince, Colton Lochhead and Meghin Delaney and Mike Shoro contributed to this story.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
Bel Air Drive Officer Involved Shooting Presser - Video
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly goes over the officer-involved shooting on Bel Air Drive.
Former Las Vegas police officer get 25 life sentences for sexually abusing child
Former Las Vegas Police officer Bret Theil was sentences to 25 consecutive life sentences at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, May 15, 2019, for sexually abusing a child over a decade. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Man pushed off bus in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Las Vegas police arrested 25-year-old Cadesha Bishop on May 6, after she allegedly pushed Serge Fournier, 74, off of a parked bus near Fremont Street and 13th Street about 4:50 p.m. March 21.(Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
$1 million bail set for mother charged with drowning 2-year-old daughter
The 44-year-old mother who police say drowned her 2-year-old daughter in a bathtub in a northeast Las Vegas apartment on Saturday made her first court appearance on Tuesday, May 14th.
Officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child appears in court
Matthew James Terry, a Las Vegas police officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child, appears in court Monday morning, May 13, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seek hit-and-run driver
A motorcycle officer pulled over a Mercedes SUV, and after the officer came to a stop, it shifted into reverse, intentionally hitting the officer.
Thedrick Andres becomes Henderson Police Department acting chief
Henderson Police Department Acting Chief Thedrick Andres speaks about his goals in his new position at the Henderson Police headquarters, Monday, April 29, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2 dead, 1 wounded after east valley neighborhood shooting
One man and one woman are dead and another man wounded after a shooting Thursday afternoon in an east valley neighborhood.
Bail denied for former police detective charged with murder
Bail was denied Tuesday for former Metropolitan Police Department detective, Pamela Rene Bordeaux who is accused of fatally shooting her daughter’s ex-husband during supervised visitation with his child.
Third suspect in death of California doctor appears in court
The third and final suspect in the killing of a California doctor, Jon Kennison, 27, appears in court Friday, April 19, 2019. Kennison, Kelsey Nichole Turner, a former model, and Diana Pena, face charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Richard Cleaves of Pahrump arrested in burglary on former Binion property
Updated press release regarding burglary on a former Binion property: Richard Cleaves, 56 of Pahrump, has been arrested on a warrant for burglary, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, and destruction of property. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Judge denies bail for suspect charged in the killing of California doctor
Diana Pena, one of three people charged in the killing of a California doctor, is being held without bail after her fingerprints were found on the car where Dr. Thomas Burchard's body was discovered.
Ex-NFL player and girlfriend held without bail in child’s death
Former professional football player Cierre Wood and his girlfriend, Amy Taylor, face charges of murder and child abuse in the death of Taylor's 5-year-old daughter. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP identifies man who was shot by trooper on Mount Charleston
Nevada Highway Patrol updates the media on the April 2, 2019 officer involved shooting on Mount Charleston. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas court grants '90 Day Fiancé' defendant continuance
"90 Day Fiance" stars Colt Johnson and his mother Debra left the Las Vegas Justice Center Thursday, after the court granted Larissa dos Santos Lima a continuance in her misdemeanor case, in which she is accused of domestic violence against Colt. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Details released on in-custody death
Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank addresses media about details of an in-custody death at Clark County Detention Center on March 31. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man hurt in shooting with Nevada troopers at Mount Charleston
A man was injured in a shooting involving Nevada Highway Patrol troopers Tuesday afternoon at Mount Charleston on state Route 157 near Echo Trail. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Officer wounds inmate during escape attempt
An officer fired on an inmate who stole a vehicle and tried to flee, ramming several cars and leading officers on a chase until he ran out of gas.
Man fatally shot during a 'beer skip'
A store clerk is being questioned after a man was fatally shot during a robbery at a gas station Friday. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Las Vegas police give details on fatal shooting
Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer gives a briefing on a fatal shooting near downtown Las Vegas that occurred on March 27, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas community pays tribute to boy killed by car
The community joined friends and family at Wilbur & Theresa Faiss Park, Wednesday evening, to remember the boy who was struck and killed by a car crossing South Fort Apache Road from Faiss Park, near West Maule Avenue, on Monday. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Person of Interest Found For Downtown Las Vegas Bar - Video
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is seeking help to find a person of interest in a potential homicide case at a bar in downtown Las Vegas.
Metro briefs media on OIS near downtown Las Vegas
Police address media about officer-involved shooting that started on Maryland and Vegas Valley, and concluded downtown, near the Golden Nugget.
Update on OIS at Vegas Valley and Maryland
The incident began at the Steinberg Diagnostic Medical parking lot and ended downtown.
Amy And Spencer Powell Recount Hit And Run
Amy Powell and her son Spencer recount the day Spencer was hit by a truck while riding his bike. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah arrested in Amarillo, TX
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah was arrested in Amarillo, TX on a Nye County warrant for open murder, burglary, obtaining money under false pretense, use of credit card w/o owner consent, and destruction of evidence. (Nye County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
Metro Presser For OIS 6 (Full)
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Metro Presser For OIS 6
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Domestic disturbance call ends in suicide
A man died by suicide after police tried negotiating with him outside of his ex-girlfriend’s home on March 13. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by Las Vegas police
A 20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by a Las Vegas officer on Saturday night is also accused of burglarizing a Boys & Girls Club minutes before the shooting.
Metro briefing on OIS near downtown Las Vegas
Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Kelly McMahill briefs the media on a officer-involved shooting near Ninth Street and Bonanza Road on March 19, 2019. Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man robs restaurant with large kitchen knife
On March 16, 2019, at approximately 6:00 PM, an armed robbery occurred at a local restaurant located near East Charleston and Eastern. The suspect entered the business with a large knife, demanding money from the registers. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Commercial Robbery On 3000 Block Of North Las Vegas Blvd - VIDEO
On February 19th, 2019, at approximately 10:23 am, a robbery occurred to a business located on the 3000 block of North Las Vegas Boulevard. The pictured suspect entered the business, approached the counter and pointed a firearm at the victim demanding money. The victim complied and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of money. No injuries were reported.
DEA Launches New Program To Combat Opioid Epidemic
The Drug Enforcement Administration is launching a new effort in Nevada to combat the opioid epidemic.
THE LATEST
 
Plenty of work remains on Drew Las Vegas

The former Fontainebleau — the blue-tinted tower that has blighted the Strip for a decade — is slated to open as the Drew in the second quarter of 2022.