LAS VEGAS, Nevada (Reuters/AFP/AP) – A gunman opened fire at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 100 others before the suspect was killed by police.
Police described the suspect as being a local Las Vegas man who acted alone, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said at a briefing.
“We have in excess of 100-plus injured and excess of 20-plus that have died at this point,” Lombardo said.
The gunman was killed after police “engaged the suspect,” Lombardo told reporters.
But authorities were seeking an Asian female who police described as a companion of the suspect, he said.
They said that rumors of other shootings in the area were false. Off-duty police were believe to be among the victims.
Witnesses on social media said the shooting broke out on the last night of the three-day Route 91 Harvest festival, a sold-out event attended by thousands and featuring top acts such as Eric Church, Sam Hunt, and Jason Aldean.
Concert-goers reported seeing muzzle flashes from the upper floors of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino across Las Vegas Boulevard from the country music festival and the sound of what they described as automatic gun fire.
US media, including Fox News, reported that Aldean was performing around 10:45 p.m. local time when the rampage began but that he had been bundled safely off stage at the event outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in the Nevada gambling mecca. CNN reported all the artists were safe.
Kodiak Yazzi, 36, said he and his girlfriend were watching Aldean’s 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, Yazzi said.
Witnesses said they saw multiple victims and dozens of ambulances near the concert venue. Some attendees later huddled in the basement of the nearby Tropicana hotel-casino.
Officers carrying assault rifles ran into the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
Authorities shut down part of the Las Vegas Strip and Interstate 15.
Some flights destined for the McCarran International Airport were diverted due to the shooting.