LAS VEGAS—In what authorities are calling the worst mass shooting in modern American history, a 64-year-old gunman opened fire from a 32nd floor balcony of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino last night, killing at least 58 people, reportedly including two off-duty police officers, and wounding upwards of 200 others—some reports say over 400 were injured—who were attending a three-day country-western music festival.
In a post on its Facebook page, MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay, stated: “This evening there was a tragic active shooter situation at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. Law enforcement and emergency personnel responded quickly to the incident and secured the scene. Law enforcement requested that we put hotels in the vicinity on lockdown to ensure guest safety. We will provide more information as it becomes available.”
In a post on Twitter, the resort said, “Security personnel have lifted all restrictions on access to Mandalay Bay and other MGM Resorts. Guests may return to their rooms.”
Initial reports indicated the shooter, identified by police as Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, NV, was neutralized by SWAT teams; however, later reports have the gunman taking his own life as police closed in. It is unclear at this point which scenario is accurate.
In a post on the Nashville Country Club website last night, Jason Aldean, one of the performers at the Route 91Harvest Festival—the apparent target of the gunman’s fury—said: “Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that me and my crew are safe. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”
U.S. casino operators saw their shares on Wall Street fall in early trading. According to Reuters, MGM Resorts International was down 4%, while Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, Wynn Resorts Ltd and Las Vegas Sands Corp each fell 1-2%.
Katherine Lugar, president/CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), said, “We send our lasting gratitude to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and first responders who worked swiftly to bring an end to the violence, and importantly, hotel staff who quickly came together to protect guests and residents and keep them safe. Our hotels in Las Vegas have strong partnerships within the local community and have been working closely with law enforcement and other groups following the tragedy.
“As a business that is centered on serving the public, no issue is more important than safety and security,” she continued. “Hotels have safety and security procedures in place that are regularly reviewed, tested and updated as are their emergency response procedures. As we better understand the facts in the coming days, we will continue to work with law enforcement to evaluate these measures. On behalf of AHLA and the entire hotel industry, we offer our support to the hospitality community in Las Vegas. This remarkable city—which welcomes millions of visitors from around the world—has heart and resilience. We stand together with all of you and will find the strength to carry you through this heartbreaking time and rise again. “
Hotel Business will be updating this story as more information becomes available.