The gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on the final night of the outdoor festival on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. This video shows how the shooting began.
Other videos and photos on social media show audience members crouching low to the ground, running for cover or scrambling over fences to get away from the gunfire.
Las Vegas Metro Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters at a press conference in the early hours of Monday that police had killed the shooter, identified as Nevada resident Stephen Paddock.
'The gunfire intensified, and I knew something was terribly wrong'
Jason Aldean was on the stage and singing. When we first heard a couple of pops, we thought it was a firecracker – maybe someone had snuck them into the venue and were lighting them off near the stage. Jason continued playing for a bit until all of a sudden these popping sounds started increasing in frequency. It really wasn’t just a couple of single shots – it was a ‘pop-pop-pop-pop’, really fast. Once that happened he left the stage, the stage went dark, and people started running. At first my husband thought people were overreacting, and I hoped he was right. But as the gunfire intensified, it was then that I knew that something was terribly wrong.
A video taken by Rose as she made her way out of the festival site with her husband and hundreds of other festival-goers.
We were sitting in the bleacher seats all the way at the back of the venue. We saw an onslaught of people coming toward us. We knew that if we tried to leave right away we could get trampled or hurt in the stampede. So we lay down flat on the floor of the bleachers and tried to stay below the seats in front of us. The sound continued rapid-fire; there were so many shots, I couldn’t imagine how someone was still shooting. Why hadn’t they been taken down yet?
'I was frozen with fear'
Lying on the floor, I could hear people passing us, screaming and crying, and searching for their friends. The area in front of where we had been sitting was for people who had brought their own chairs, and I remember hearing the sound of those chairs being knocked over, seeing people falling down and their friends pulling them back up as they were running. I wanted to stay put. I was frozen with fear. The shooting was still going on.
Then a gentleman came over and told us, “Those plastic seats are not going to block a bullet from hitting you.” That was when we tried to leave. I was so scared, I couldn’t move. This man took one arm, and my husband took the other arm, and they helped me out.
When we were trying to get out, no one knew where to go. Even as we were exiting, there was still gunfire. We ran out, and people were scattering on the street. We went in one direction, and then had to turn back and go in the opposite direction. People were running across the road madly while cars were still driving down the street.
A video taken by our Observer.
'We were like sitting ducks – there was nothing the festival could
have done to prevent this'
We walked past another hotel, the Tropicana, and they had opened a side door and were letting people come in. We chose to keep going to our own hotel, which wasn’t far away from the festival. I don’t think the hotel was really fully aware of what was going on. A bunch of people were coming in and crying, scared. People who hadn’t been at the festival looked at us with shocked eyes, obviously wondering what had happened. At this point I was so shaken up and crying myself, and we just went straight up to our room.
Now the hotel is on lockdown and everything is closed. Employees were passing out water to everyone who needed it. It’s so quiet.
There was nothing the festival could have done to prevent this. We were scanned all the time when entering the festival; security was so high. The shooting came from outside of the festival site. We were just lying there like sitting ducks. I feel completely devastated.
The Route 91 Harvest festival is a popular festival that brings together big names from the world of country music. It was completely sold out this year. According to the Associated Press, there were around 40,000 people in the crowd when the shooting began.
McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas temporarily halted flights following the attack. Some flight activity has now been resumed.
Jason Aldean, who was not harmed during the attack, later posted an image on Instagram with the message, “Pray for Las Vegas." He described the event as “beyond horrific”.