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A 64-year-old man armed with more than 10 rifles rained down gunfire on a Las Vegas country music festival on Sunday (local time), slaughtering at least 59 people in the largest mass shooting in US history before killing himself.
The barrage from a 32nd-floor window in the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of 22,000 people lasted several minutes, causing panic. Some fleeing fans trampled each other as police scrambled to find the gunman.
Police said this morning New Zealand time that 59 people were killed.
More than 525 people were injured - some by gunfire or shrapnel, some trampled - in the pandemonium adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip as police scrambled to locate the assailant.
On Monday, police identified the gunman as Stephen Paddock, who lived in a retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada, and said they did not know why he attacked the concertgoers.
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the massacre, but US officials said there was no evidence of that.
The preliminary death toll, which officials said could rise, eclipsed last year's massacre of 49 people at an Orlando night club by a gunman who pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants.
The dead in Las Vegas included a nurse, a government employee and an off-duty police officer.
Shocked survivors, some with blood on their clothing, wandered streets, where the flashing lights of the city's gaudy casinos blended with those of emergency vehicles.
Police said Paddock had no criminal record. The gunman killed himself before police entered the hotel room from where he was firing, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.
"We have no idea what his belief system was," Lombardo said. "I can't get into the mind of a psychopath."
Federal officials said there was no evidence to link Paddock to militant organizations.
"We have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group," Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field office in Las Vegas, told reporters.
US officials discounted the claim of responsibility for the attack made by Islamic State.
"We advise caution on jumping to conclusions before the facts are in," CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu said in an email.
Police said they had no information about Paddock's motive, that he had no criminal record and was not believed to be connected to any militant group. Paddock killed himself before police entered the hotel room he was firing from, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.
Federal officials said there was no evidence to link Paddock to militants.
"We have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group," FBI special agent in charge Aaron Rouse told reporters.
US officials discounted a claim of responsibility for the attack made by Islamic State through its Amaq news agency.
"The Intelligence Community is aware of the claim of responsibility by a foreign terrorist organisation for the shooting in Las Vegas," CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu said in an email. "We advise caution on jumping to conclusions before the facts are in."
Lombardo said there were 16 firearms in the room where Paddock killed himself, some with scopes and some that appeared to have been modified to convert them to fully automatic weapons.
Lombardo said the gunman apparently used a "device similar to a hammer" to smash the windows from which he fired.
Police found at least 18 additional firearms, some explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition at Paddock's home in Mesquite, about 145 km northeast of Las Vegas, along with "some electronic devices that we are evaluating at this time," Lombardo told reporters.
Chris Sullivan, the owner of the Guns & Guitars gun shop in Mesquite, issued a statement confirming that Paddock was a customer who cleared "all necessary background checks and procedures."
"He never gave any indication or reason to believe he was unstable or unfit at any time," Sullivan said, adding that his business was cooperating with investigators. He did not say how many or the kinds of weapons Paddock purchased there.
The shooting, the latest in a string that have played out across the United States over recent years, sparked a renewed outcry from some lawmakers about the pervasiveness of guns in the United States, but was unlikely to prompt action in Congress.
Efforts to pass tougher federal gun laws failed following a number of mass shootings, including the 2012 massacre of 26 young children and educators in Newtown, Connecticut, and the June attack on Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game.
Nevada has some of the nation's most permissive gun laws. It does not require firearm owners to obtain licenses or register their guns.
House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, on Monday called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to create a select committee on gun violence.
"Congress has a moral duty to address this horrific and heartbreaking epidemic," Pelosi wrote.
The Second Amendment of the US Constitution protects the right to bear arms, and gun-rights advocates staunchly defend it. US President Donald Trump, a Republican, has been outspoken in his support for the Second Amendment.
The White House said on Monday that it was too soon after the attack to consider gun control policies.
"Today is a day for consoling the survivors and mourning those we lost," presidential spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said at a news briefing. "It would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don't fully know all the facts or what took place last night."
Trump said he would travel to Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with victims, relatives and first responders.
"It was an act of pure evil," said Trump, who later led a moment of silence at the White House in honor of the victims.
The suspected shooter's brother, Eric Paddock, said the family was stunned by the news.
"We're horrified. We're bewildered, and our condolences go out to the victims," Eric Paddock said in a telephone interview, his voice trembling. "We have no idea in the world."
He said his brother belonged to no political or religious organizations, and had no history of mental illness. Their father had been a bank robber who for a time was listed on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list of fugitives.
Speaking to reporters from his doorstep in Orlando, Florida, he described his brother as "a wealthy guy" who liked to play video poker and take cruises. He seemed to have been settling into a quiet life when he moved back to Nevada from Florida.
'JUST KEPT GOING ON'
Video of the attack showed terrified crowds fleeing under rapid gunfire as the shooter took aim from a distance of around 1,050 feet (320 m).
"People were just dropping to the ground. It just kept going on," said Steve Smith, a 45-year-old visitor from Phoenix, Arizona.
"Probably 100 shots at a time," Smith said.
Las Vegas's casinos, nightclubs and shopping draw some 3.5 million visitors from around the world each year and the area was packed with visitors when the shooting started shortly after 10 pm local time (5pm NZT).
Mike McGarry, a financial adviser from Philadelphia, was at the concert when he heard hundreds of shots.
"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 from people who ran over him in panic.
Shares of MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay, fell 5.58 percent on Monday to $30.77 a share.