Terrorist group calls Stephen Paddock ‘a soldier of the Islamic State’
At least 50 people were killed and as many as 406 injured after a gunman opened fire today on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival from a hotel overlooking the event in Las Vegas. Isis has now claimed responsibility for the deadliest mass shooting in the American history.
The suspect has been identified as 64-year-old Nevada resident Stephen Paddock, who is believed to have shot himself on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino. People have found at least 10 guns in his hotel room.
Announcing the suspect’s name, Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo described it as a “lone wolf” attack and said there was no information about Paddock’s motives: “We have no idea what his belief system was.”
But a statement has been published by ISIS’s Amaq propaganda agency claiming Stephen Paddock was a “soldier of the Islamic State”. “The Las Vegas attacker is a soldier of the Islamic State in response to calls to target coalition countries,” it said, adding that the gunman “converted to Islam several months ago.
Earlier, police had also said they were looking out for a woman, Marilou Danley, in connection with the shooting. But in the latest update they have stated that she has been located outside the US and had not played any role.
The suspect’s brother, Eric Paddock, said the family was stunned by the news: “We have no idea. We’re horrified. We’re bewildered and our condolences go out to the victims,” Eric Paddock told Reuters earlier today.
According to media reports, a search of Paddock’s house is due to take place shortly. Paddock lived in a three-year-old, £297,554 two-bedroom home in Mesquite, around 80 miles north-east of Las Vegas near the Arizona state border.
Videos of the aftermath show hundreds of people fleeing in panic as Paddock opened fire. As many as 40,000 people were attending the festival today in Las Vegas. Witnesses described seeing flashes of light high up in the tower of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
Since the attack, US President Donald Trump has tweeted: “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!”