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Suspect Named in Las Vegas Shooting, Motive Still Unclear

UPDATED: Las Vegas authorities have named 64-year-old Stephen Paddock as the gunman who opened fire on attendees of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival near the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Sunday night. Paddock is said to have been a resident of Mesquite, Nev.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department confirmed that at least 58 people have died and more than 500 were injured in the shooting – the worst in U.S. history. According to local reports, the victims were shot with a high-powered assault rifle from the 32nd floor of the hotel. Police responded to the incident about 10 p.m. local time. In a media briefing held shortly after midnight, police reported that a suspect was down.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that Paddock had embraced Islam a few months ago, according to the Los Angeles Times. But the Amaq news agency has not yet offered proof of Paddock’s affiliation, and the FBI said there was no immediate evidence of a connection.

A Las Vegas hospital first reported that two people were killed in the attack, with 24 injured. But later in the night, Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo confirmed that at least 20 had died. That number was then updated to “in excess of 50” shortly after 3:30 a.m. local time.

Lombardo said that Paddock had killed himself before police stormed the hotel room he was holed up in. “We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said. “Right now we believe he was the sole aggressor.” He said that social media conjecture that there had been multiple shooters at other resorts and explosives going off were “proven to be false.”

Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said that checks in Nevada and nationwide had yielded “no derogatory history” on Paddock.

Police also said Monday morning that Paddock’s companion, Marilou Danley, who had been sought as a “person of interest,” had been located and was now not believed to be involved in the attack.

The shooting erupted at the end of a set by Jason Aldean, with some witnesses reporting that they had heard possibly hundreds of shots and saw at least one officer down. Videos posted on Twitter show concertgoers sheltering in place as gunshots ring throughout the area.

Aldean called for prayers for the victims. “Tonight has been beyond horrific,” he wrote on Instagram. “I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that me and my crew are safe. My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”

Other artists scheduled to play on the main stage of the festival, which spanned the weekend, include Eric Church, Sam Hunt, Jake Owen, Maren Morris, the Brothers Osborne, Lee Brice, and more.

Flights in and out of McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas’ main air hub, were also temporarily grounded.

In a statement, MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay Hotel, thanked first responders and said police had requested hotels in the vicinity be put on lockdown to ensure guest safety.

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