Las Vegas shooting surpasses Orlando as deadliest in U.S. history

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A deadly shooting at a concert Sunday night in Las Vegas has left more than 50 dead and 400 wounded, surpassing the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando as the deadliest in U.S. history.

The perpetuator — identified as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64 — fired from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas casino upon an outdoor country music festival below as singer Jason Aldean performed.

According to the Associated Press, there was no immediate indication of the motive for the shooting. The Department of Homeland Security reportedly said there was no “specific credible threat” involving other public venues in the United States.

Based on accounts of the incident, the shooter apparently used a military-style weapon, such as an assault rifle.

According to CNN, law enforcement officials found Paddock dead inside his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel after he apparently killed himself. He was found with a cache of weapons, including 10 rifles.

President Trump from his Twitter account expressed condolences to the families of the victims as news reports rolled in about the tragedy.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Monday morning President Trump “has been briefed on the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas.”

“We are monitoring the situation closely and offer our full support to state and local officials,” Sanders said. “All of those affected are in our thoughts and prayers.”

The death toll as of Monday already surpasses the shooting at Pulse nightclub in 2016 that left 49 dead and 53 wounded at the hand of Omar Mateen.

Terry DeCarlo, executive director of the Orlando LGBT Center, said on his Facebook page his office stands ready to assist his local community reacting to the Las Vegas incident.

“Know that The Center is working on getting counselors to our offices, if you need to speak to someone after this morning’s horrific events in Las Vegas, we will be making them available to you….stay tuned and we will release times very soon!” DeCarlo said. “ORLANDO STANDS WITH LAS VEGAS!!!”

Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, called the shooting “another horrific, inevitable, preventable, senseless tragedy.”

“Pulse has been eclipsed as the worst mass shooting in U.S. history,” Smith said. “And this one will be too. Somewhere, the profile tells us, there is another disaffected, angry man, likely with a history of domestic violence who is building an arsenal like the one reportedly in the shooter’s room as he slaughtered people from his balcony. His twisted sense of masculinity and entitlement coupled with an internet that feeds his petty grievances into a noble mission in his deluded mind.”

Smith added the shooting contributes to the sense of frustration with federal lawmakers over inaction in response to repeated mass shootings in the United States.

“Had everyone at the concert been armed they could not have stopped killing,” Smith said. “He opened fire at his leisure from a tactically superior vantage point. More guns aren’t making us more safe. More military-style weaponry is killing us with regularity. I’m heartbroken about Las Vegas. But right now all I can feel is rage at the predictability of it and the utter failure of our leaders to do a damn thing.”

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