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50 killed in Mass Shooting at Las Vegas Concert

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Mass Shooting
Las Vegas Metro Police and medical workers stage in the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 1, 2017. VOA
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Las Vegas, Oct 2, 2017: At least 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured in a mass shooting at a country music concert here. The lone attacker was later killed by the police.

Las Vegas Metro Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo confirmed the death toll in the attack at the city’s Route 91 Harvest Festival, and called it the “deadliest mass shooting in US history”.

The gunman opened fire into the outdoor country music festival from the 32nd floor of Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino at 10.30 p.m. on Sunday while singer Jason Aldean was performing on stage. The attacker was shot dead by the police later, CNN reported.

The suspect acted alone and was identified as 64-year-old local resident Stephen Paddock. He was not found to be associated with any terrorist activity, said Lombardo.

The police were hunting for Paddock’s female companion, Marilou Danley, who they said was travelling with him before the attack, CNN reported.

US President Donald Trump posted a tweet offering his sympathies to those caught in the Las Vegas attack.

“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!,” the President tweeted.

Off-duty police officers were among the dead, said Lombardo. Two other police officers were also being treated for injuries.

Bursts of shots could be heard in videos shared on social media, which showed scenes of people running away and trying to protect themselves.

“We heard what sounded like firecrackers going off. Then all of a sudden we heard what sounded like a machine gun. People started screaming that they were hit … when we started running out there were probably a couple hundred on the ground,” said Meghan Kearney, who attended the music festival.

“People kept dropping and dropping … People were getting shot one foot away from us,” she said. “People were trying to save their friends. There were gunshots everywhere. Helping them would’ve meant that we got shot too.”

Police tweeted that they were “searching for two vehicles associated with the shooter: Hyundai Tucson Nevada/114B40 and a Chrysler Pacifica Nevade/79D401”.

Leaders from around the world reacted to the horrific shooting. UK Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the “appalling attack” in a tweet from the Prime Minister’s official Twitter account.

“PM – The UK’s thoughts are with the victims and the emergency services responding to the appalling attack in Las Vegas,” the tweet said.

“A deeply sad day for the city of Las Vegas,” wrote London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter. “London sends our condolences to the victims and their families.”

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted: “Australia mourns with America tonight after shocking senseless attack in Las Vegas.”

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Danish counterpart Lars Løkke Rasmussen also tweeted in support of the victims. (IANS)

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Texas Mass Shooting: ‘It isn’t a guns situation, but a mental problem’, Says Trump

An eyewitness to the shootings, who is a Vietnam War vet, told VOA's Mehtap Colak Yilmaz that he had not seen anything like the church massacre "since Vietnam."

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, not pictured, at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg(VOA)

White House, November 6, 2017 : A man opened fire with an assault weapon at a church near San Antonio, Texas, Sunday morning, killing 26 worshippers and wounding at least 20.

The victims range from five to 72 years old.

The gunman is also dead and there is no clue so far as to his motive.

Federal investigators from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms have joined local law enforcement officers in tiny Sutherland Springs, Texas, about 50 kilometers from San Antonio.

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump said the mass shooting “isn’t a guns situation” but is instead “a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.” He said the shooter was “a very deranged individual.” The president is monitoring the situation from Japan, the first stop on his five-nation Asian trip.

Earlier, Trump called the shootings “an act of evil” and appealed for prayers. He ordered U.S. flags on federal buildings to be flown at half-staff through Thursday.

“We cannot put into words, the pain and grief we all feel and we cannot begin to imagine the suffering of those who lost the ones they so dearly loved. Our hearts are broken,” the president said.

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott says this is worst mass shooting in Texas history. He said there are “many pieces of a complex puzzle” to put together.

Texas
Members of the Wilson County Sheriff’s office stand inside a taped off area near the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 5, 2017. VOA

What is known, according to Texas public safety official Freeman Martin, is that the gunman, later identified as Devin P. Kelley, was described as a young white male dressed in black and wearing a bullet-proof vest. He first opened fire with an assault rifle outside the First Baptist Church and continued shooting after going inside.

Freeman said a local resident with his own rifle confronted the shooter, causing the gunman to drop his weapon and flee in his car. The citizen pursued the gunman, joined shortly by police. Freeman said the suspect crashed the car just over the county line and was found dead in the vehicle from a gunshot wound. It is unclear if he killed himself or was shot by the citizen.

Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt says police found multiple weapons in the suspect’s car.

U.S. Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told VOA late Sunday that records show Kelley was discharged from the Air Force about three years ago: “Records checks confirm Devin P. Kelley was previously a USAF member, who served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman AFB, NM, from 2010 until his discharge in 2014. Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 for two counts of Article 128 UCMJ ((EDS: Uniform code of Military Justice)) — assault on his spouse and assault on their child. Kelley received a Bad Conduct Discharge, confinement for twelve months and a reduction to the grade of E-1.”

ALSO READ 26 people killed as a Shooter opens fire in a Church in Texas

Two of the victims were killed outside the church. The rest were shot inside.

An eyewitness to the shootings, who is a Vietnam War vet, told VOA’s Mehtap Colak Yilmaz that he had not seen anything like the church massacre “since Vietnam.”

Marie Ann Montgomery, the church’s Sunday school director, told VOA’s Yilmaz that people in the congregation knew Kelley and some of the suspect’s family members were among the victims. Montgomery stopped short, however, of saying the suspect deliberately targeted his family.

While none of the victims have been publicly identified, First Baptist Church Pastor Frank Pomeroy told U.S. news networks that his 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle Renee Pomeroy, is among the deceased.

Pomeroy was in Oklahoma at the time of the shooting. He told ABC News he was on his way back to Sutherland Springs.

Sutherland Springs, Texas on the map. VOA

​He said all of the people killed Sunday were close friends. Pomeroy also said he wants the world to know his daughter “was one very beautiful special child.”

Sheriff Tackitt says the church posts its weekly services on YouTube and that the massacre was likely caught on camera. The FBI says it believes only one gunman was involved.

Sunday’s Texas shooting comes just weeks after October’s mass killing in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music show there, killing 58 and wounding about 500. Paddock shot from his 32nd floor hotel room and killed himself as police moved in. Investigators in the Las Vegas shooting are still working to confirm a motive. (VOA)