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Attack in Las Vegas leaves at least 59 dead, more than 500 injured


At least 59 people have been killed and more than 500 injured after a gunman fired on a crowd at a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday evening, mowing down concertgoers and sparking panic around the city’s gambling strip.

President Donald Trump described the massacre — which was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history — as an “act of pure evil”. The tragedy came 15 months after the attack on the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida that left 49 dead.

Las Vegas police said the suspected gunman, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened fire from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino into the crowd of 22,000 attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

Police said the resident of Mesquite, Nevada, appears to have acted alone and killed himself before they entered his hotel room. Law enforcement officials executed a search warrant at his home on Monday. Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Paddock had no “derogatory” information on his record besides a “citation” several years ago.

Law enforcement authorities also said that they had no evidence so far to support a claim by Isis that the terrorist organization was behind the attack in Las Vegas.

Lombardo said police were confident they had located Marilou Danley, described as a companion of the shooter, who they believe was not involved in the attack, as well as two vehicles of interest. Police said they suspected that Paddock had been staying in the hotel room since September 28.

Authorities found 18 to 20 guns — some fully automatic machine guns that can fire continuously with one pull of the trigger — in Paddock’s hotel room, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Trump said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet victims’ families and members of law enforcement.

In his short televised address, Trump made no mention of gun violence, in contrast to former president Barack Obama, who had described the Orlando massacre as a “reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon” and that “we have to decide if that is the kind of country that we want to be.”

Asked whether the Trump administration had considered tougher gun control measures, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary, said there was “a time and place for a policy debate, but now is the time to unite the country”. She said it was “premature to discuss policy” when investigators did not know all the facts surrounding the massacre in Vegas. The massacre is the latest mass shooting in the US, where the prospects for increased gun control are limited. This is particularly so as Republicans control the White House and Congress and are opposed to any move that could be seen to weaken the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which gives Americans the right to bear arms.