Eyewitnesses of a shooting in Las Vegas have given harrowing accounts of the attack that killed at least 59 people and wounded more than 525at a music festival at Mandalay Bay Casino late on Sunday.
According to witnesses on social media, the gunfire began near the end of country singer Jason Aldean’s performance, who was playing on the last day of the three-day Route 91 Harvest festival, a sold-out event attended by thousands and featuring other top acts such as Eric Church and Sam Hunt.
Video clips posted online showed what sounded like automatic weapons as panicked concertgoers fled or dropped to the ground screaming. Witnesses heard numerous gunshots at the hotel, where police tactical teams were searching for the attacker, according to reports on CNN and in the New York Times.
Cari Copeland Pearson said she was listening to Aldean’s performance with friends when she heard multiple gunshots. She and her friends initially took cover before running and jumping over a fence to escape the area. Pearson told DPA that while fleeing the scene, she saw deceased victims of the shooting. “There were dead people at the concert right next to me. We crawled over dead people,” Pearson said.
Other witnesses also said they saw multiple victims as they fled the gunfire raining down on the concert venue. Some later huddled in the basement of the nearby Tropicana hotel-casino.
Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said he and his girlfriend were watching the performance when he heard what sounded like fireworks. The music stopped temporarily and started up again before another round of pops sent the performers ducking for cover and fleeing the stage. Thousands fled as bursts of gunfire could be heard for more than five minutes, Yazzie said.
Police have disclosed no information that would suggest a motive for the shooting or revealed the identify of the suspect. Even so, the rampage was reminiscent of a mass shooting at a Paris rock concert in November 2015 that killed 89 people, part of a coordinated attack by Islamist militants that left 130 dead.
Reuters, AP and DPA contributed to this report.