The deadliest shooting in recent US history unfolded — as most do — in a storm of chaos and confusion.
Though the enormity of the situation emerged quickly Sunday night, details were still emerging of exactly what happened more than 24 hours later.
The police have confirmed that the gunman, identified as a 64-year-old man named Stephen Paddock, spent three days in Las Vegas before his attack and managed to amass a huge stockpile of guns.
By the time the general public had been told a shooting was underway Sunday night, Paddock was already dead. Here, moment by moment, is how the attack unfolded:
Thursday: Stephen Paddock checks into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip
Paddock booked a two-room suite on the 32nd floor, with a clear view over the Route 91 Harvest festival taking place the other side of South Las Vegas Boulevard, the road known as the Strip.
He arrived Thursday, the day before the festival started. He would launch his attack Sunday evening, in the final moments of the concert.
Paddock transports huge quantities of weapons and ammunition into his room
The Las Vegas police say they found 23 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his room.
Nevada gun laws are among the most permissive in the US, but Mandalay Bay itself says firearms are ‘strictly prohibited’ on its premises.
At a press conference after the shooting, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Paddock took ‘in excess of 10’ suitcases to his room.
Paddock’s movements between checking in Thursday and opening fire Sunday night are so far unclear
Sunday, 9:40 p.m.: Route 91 Harvest festival begins its closing act
According to Fox News, the country star Jason Aldean went onstage at 9:40 p.m. on the night of the shooting. He played for half an hour before the shooting began.
He escaped unharmed and later paid tribute to his fans who were hurt and killed.
10:08 p.m.: Paddock opens fire
Footage shows the moment the sound of gunfire stops a Las Vegas concert. There are reports of multiple injuries pic.twitter.com/y5x0bA1F8N
— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 2, 2017
Using multiple rifles, Paddock rained bullets on the crowd of 22,000 people below him.
The first official word appears to have been an officer using a police radio to alert a colleague. According to Reuters, a voice could be heard saying: ‘We got shots fired! It sounded like an automatic firearm.’
Twenty-four hours after the shooting, the death toll stands at 59, with more than 500 people injured either by bullets or by trying to escape them.
10:13 p.m.: The police realise where the shots are coming from
Citing police radio transmissions, The New York Times said the police started to zero in on the upper floors of Mandalay Bay about five minutes after the shooting began.
Here are two lines where officers realise what is happening, both time-stamped 10:13 p.m.:
‘It’s coming from like the 50th or 60th floor, north of the Mandalay Bay! It’s coming out a window.
‘We’re seeing local flashes in the middle of Mandalay Bay on the north side, kind of on the west tower but towards the center of the casino, like one of the middle floors.’
Officers begin to search the hotel.
10:16 p.m.: News hits social media
One of the earliest records of the shooting is this tweet from the user @GLOKMIN:
i’m pretty sure a terrorist attack just happened next to me im at mandalay bay
— ㅤ (@GLOKMIN) October 2, 2017
10:21 p.m.: ‘Still taking fire’
It isn’t clear how long Paddock was firing for. The New York Times cites police radio at 10:20 p.m. as saying ‘it’s been a while since we’ve heard any shots.’
But a separate timeline compiled by Newsweek reports an officer near the concert venue as saying the area was ‘still taking fire’ at 10:21 p.m.
10:24 p.m.: Police officers gather near Paddock’s room.
Again citing police radio, The New York Times said officers were right outside Paddock’s hotel room at 10:24 p.m., 16 minutes after the shooting began.
One message said: ‘I’m on the 32nd floor. The room is going to be 135.’
Another said: ‘It’s room 135 on the 32nd floor. I need the SWAT.’
It would be almost another hour, however, until officers would break into Paddock’s room. He appeared to have stopped shooting by this point.
10:25 p.m.: The police issue active-shooter alert locally
Taxi drivers in the area received a message direct from the police at 10:25 p.m. telling them to avoid the Mandalay Bay area.
According to Reuters, it said: ‘Drivers avoid LV Blvd and Tropicana. Active shooting from Mandalay Bay. Possible 3 shooters.’
Approximately 10:28 p.m.: Paddock shoots a hotel security guard.
Further police radio transmissions suggest that Paddock shot a hotel security guard who was trying to approach his room. The man was injured in the leg, according to The New York Times.
Approximately 10:30 p.m.: Officers on the scene order passersby to take cover
Reuters reported that minutes after the alert to cab drivers, the police started herding people inside Mandalay Bay to get them out of the line of sight of the gunman.
10:38 p.m.: The police publicly confirm active shooter
Half an hour after the attack began, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wrote on Twitter that it was investigating an ongoing shooting:
11:20 p.m.: SWAT teams break into Paddock’s room and find him dead
By this time, authorities said, Paddock had already killed himself.
According to Newsweek, officers asked permission to enter Paddock’s room sooner but were told to wait for SWAT teams.
11:58 p.m.: The police confirm that the gunman is ‘down.’
Two minutes before midnight, and almost two hours after the first shots were fired, the Las Vegas police tweeted confirmation that ‘one suspect is down’:
Confirming that one suspect is down. This is an active investigation. Again, please do not head down to the Strip at this time.
— LVMPD (@LVMPD) October 2, 2017
Monday, 12:31 a.m.: Incident declared over
It was not until 31 minutes past midnight — more than an hour since Paddock was found dead — that the police department sent a follow-up tweet saying it thought the dead man was the only attacker.
Two hours, 23 minutes after it began, the massacre was officially over.
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