A gunman has killed at least 50 people and wounded more than 200 at a country music festival in Las Vegas Strip, raining down rapid fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel for several minutes before he was shot dead by police.
The death toll, which police emphasised was preliminary, would make the attack the deadliest mass shooting in US history, eclipsing last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub.
The gunman opened fire from the Mandalay Bay Hotel at the open-air music festival being held nearby.
Authorities have identified the gunman as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock.
He acted alone and was not believed to be connected to any militant group, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.
“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said. “Right now, we believe he was the sole aggressor and the scene is static.”
Police also have located 62-year-old Marilou Danley, who was wanted as a person of interest in this incident. Lombardo gave no details of whether she was suspected of involvement in Sunday night’s (Monday AEDT) attack but described her as an “associate”.
Lombardo said rumours of other shootings or explosives such as car bombs in the area were false.
Video taken of the attack showed panicked crowds fleeing as sustained rapid gunfire ripped through the area.
“I heard what we thought was firecrackers, and we looked to the right of us and there was a woman down covered in blood,” a witness identified as Emily told local Fox affiliate KLAS.
“From that point on we just ran. We hid wherever we could, and now in an (aeroplane) hangar.
“We had no idea, it was just rapid fire. We all thought we were dead. It was awful. It just kept going, and going and going.
“It felt like an eternity but it went for at least several minutes.”
A witness who gave her name as Christine was in tears as she told local TV that she saw a man shot in front of her.
“They were trying to take him out and he was all bloody, and unconscious,” she said.
“My friend was helping him out and they got him out, and we ran.”
She said people were hiding wherever they could, including under her car.
“Everyone was telling us to run as fast as you can,” she said.
“There was a gentleman who was shot and he was asking me for help.”
A witness told dpa she heard multiple gunshots before fleeing, and said she “crawled over dead people” as she tried to get away.
Mike McGarry, a 53-year-old financial adviser from Philadelphia, was at the concert when he heard hundreds of shots ring out.
“It was crazy – I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good life,” McGarry said. The back of his shirt bore footmarks, after people ran over him in the panicked crowd.
Some police officers took cover behind their vehicles while others carrying assault rifles ran into the hotel and casino.
Many casinos in the area locked their doors during the incident to keep out any potential attackers, some using handcuffs to do so, according to witnesses.
“Caesar’s Palace had locked their doors. They wouldn’t let you in,” said Adam Mitchell, a 31-year-old tourist visiting from Britain.
Authorities shut down part of the Las Vegas strip and Interstate 15.
McCarran International Airport officials say all flights in and out have been temporarily halted.