By Isabella Randazzo, Julia Ruggieri, Tyler Stafford
OCT 6, 2017
The night of October 1, 2017 marks the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Jason Aldean was performing at an outdoor concert as part of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. In a hotel room overlooking the concert, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire into the crowd through the window of his Mandalay Bay hotel room. Within seconds, chaos erupted. As of this writing, it is believed Paddock acted alone.
Concert-goers were running and ducking for cover. Performers were racing from the stage trying to find shelter. People in the crowd said they saw “flashes” coming from the upper levels of the Mandalay Bay hotel, across the street. Those flashes were from the weapons that Stephen Paddock fired from his 32nd story window.
In an interview with CBS This Morning, Sirius XM country music host Storme Warren recalled that at first, he thought the gunshots were fireworks. After the second round of “rat-a-tat-tats [he] knew it wasn’t an audio glitch and it wasn’t pyrotechnics.” He realized realized the situation was urgent and ran to take cover under the stage. Fortunately, he had been standing to the side of the stage when the shooting began.
Upon arrival, the SWAT team located Paddock’s room on the 32nd floor. Once they received verbal confirmation to enter the room, they did so cautiously, as they were unsure who or what they would find inside. Paddock was already dead when they walked in. Media reports speculated that he took his own life prior to their arrival. Recent reports indicated that there were 23 rifles along with several dozen magazines of ammunition in his room.
There were over 22,000 people attending the concert. The death toll is 59 and, at last count, the number of non-fatal injuries was 527. Daniel Victor with the New York Times reported that among the dead is Sonny Melton, a 29-year-old nurse at Henry County Medical Center in Tennessee. He was attending the concert with his wife, and, when the gunshots began to hit the crowd, he sacrificed himself to protect her.
Raider Review and the entire St. Thomas Aquinas High School community send condolences to the victims and families affected by this tragedy.