Villainy in Vegas: Shooting Terrifies the Nation

In early October 2017, a horrendous act of evil took place in Las Vegas, Nevada where 58 innocent people died. Thousands of people gathered at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, with friends and family to have a good time. The three-day Harvest Festival has featured country music acts for the last four years. During Jason Aldean’s performance, fans starting hearing what sounded like firecrackers, but instead were bullets coming from a hotel across the street from the festival. Resulting in a death toll of 58, this event is now the deadliest single person shooting in United States history.

When Stephen Paddock first started shooting from the 38th floor of the Mandalay Bay, fans were unsure of what was happening. Once people started saying they were hit, fans fled the scene as quickly as possible.

While many attempted to run away, others helped those around them who had been shot and risked their lives to help strangers. These courageous acts remind us of the goodness in the world during this devastating time. One heroic story is of a firefighter Dean McAuley, who was at the concert with some friends When the shooting started McAuley first made sure that his friends were out of harm’s way, then proceeded to go back into the crowd to save strangers. His friends begged him to stay but he insisted that he needed to do his job. McAuley risked his life that night and saved many victims and is now safe back home with his family.

Before Paddock opened fire on the crowd he had set up his own cameras outside of his room to beware of police or spectators. One hotel security guard saw Paddock and confronted him. When he did Paddock shot the guard in his leg. Just 6 minutes afterwards he opened fire onto the crowd. When police started investigating they found 17 guns in his hotel room. Some with an  attachment that converted his semi automatics into illegal fully automatic guns. The police continued to search through his homes to found 47 guns in total, 33 of them purchased in the past 12 months.

Police are still unsure of a motive. Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, was the FBI’s first suspect in their investigation. The FBI first thought that Danley was an accomplice when they saw that 100,000 dollars had been wired into her account prior to the shooting. After getting in touch with Danley, the FBI found out that she had been in the Philippines during the shooting. Danley says that she knows nothing about the shooting and that the money was for her and her family. The FBI is no longer calling her a suspect but now deemed her as a person of interest.

Math teacher and NHS Sponsor Susan Morlan from Kennesaw Mountain High School checked out of her hotel at the Mandalay Bay just hours before the shooting. This is what Mrs. Morlan had to say, “Often when I hear of terrible tragedies, I wrongly think, ‘This could never happen to me.’  During September break my husband and I traveled to Las Vegas and Utah.  We stayed on the 30th floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.  We had checked out before the shooting. When we learned of the shooting it gave us a sense that ‘this could have been us.’ I don’t know what lesson to take from this.  I don’t personally think that gun laws can prevent an evil person from perpetrating terrible acts of violence or that more mental health screening can detect every ill person.”