U.S. President Donald Trump gave praises to law enforcers for their quick response to the Las Vegas mass shooting, calling it a “miracle.”
Trump and First Lady Melania were on their way to board the presidential helicopter on Tuesday to visit Puerto Rico when he stopped to talk to some reporters. According to the Washington Post, Trump initially said that the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, which left 59 people dead and 527 injured, was “a tragedy” before singling out the first responders for their quick action.
“What happened in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle.”
Trump was alluding to the swift action of the police in dealing with the situation. He said that “how quickly the police department was able to get in was really very much of a miracle.” Trump then said that the issue of gun control and the use of silencers will be discussed at a later time.
“The police department, they’ve done such an incredible job,” Trump said. “We’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.”
Trump also chastised the gunman, calling him “a sick man, a demented man.” He also said that the shooter probably had “a lot of problems.”
Police investigations have yet to determine a motive for the mass shooting. Paddock’s mental condition has also not been officially discussed yet by the authorities.
Stephen Paddock, 64, perpetrated the crime from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Paddock shot at the estimated 22,000 people gathered to watch an open-field country music concert. The Washington Post estimated that the attack on the crowd lasted for at least five minutes and as long as 15. Police recently said that the shooting lasted for nine to 11 minutes.
The New York Times reported that Paddock managed to smuggle at least 23 guns into room 135, a two-bedroom suite in the hotel-casino where he checked in on September 28. At least 19 weapons and several pounds of explosives were found in his home in Mesquite, Nevada. A total of 47 firearms were recovered in connection to Paddock, according to special agent Jill Snyder. Authorities also found ammonia nitrate, a type of fertilizer which may also be used to make a bomb, in his car.
According to USA Today, the whole horrifying event happened in 90 minutes. The first reports of shots being fired were received by a police dispatcher on 10:08 p.m. Authorities on the scene also reported an active shooter a minute later.
By 10:12 p.m., one officer started assembling a strike team as multiple casualties were being reported. A minute later, officers asked traffic to be shut down on Las Vegas Boulevard.
A team of six police officers coordinated with the hotel’s security guards to determine the possible whereabouts of the gunman. Guests at the hotel revealed that they heard shots coming somewhere from the 29th to the 32nd floors.
Just under seven minutes after the shooting was first reported, one of the officers said he was on the 31st floor of the Mandalay Bay. The officer said he “can hear the automatic fire coming from one floor ahead, one floor above us.”
At 10:19 p.m., four more officers made their way to the Mandalay Bay through the south wing. Upon learning of the other group already in position, they proceeded to the hotel to offer support.
The police officers came into contact with the shooter at 10:24 p.m. The group, accompanied by the hotel’s security guards, were shot at through the door as they approached room 135. Paddock hit a security officer on the leg. One of the officers then called for a SWAT team.
More officers arrive at the scene at 10:29 p.m. as they try to determine if there were more than one shooter. At 10:50 p.m., authorities converged on the 32nd floor as they prepared for an assault. The groups took precautions to avoid shooting at each other.
The SWAT team was able to zero in on Paddock’s location after smoke from his gun triggered a fire alarm in his room. The nightmare ended around 20 minutes after that. At 11:58 p.m., police reported that the gunman was down. Paddock shot himself to death as officers closed in on him.
Initial reports say Paddock modified the firearms including some guns with a “bump stock,” allowing them to shoot like fully automatic weapons.
Paddock passed federal background checks on two instances. A couple of gun shops in Nevada confirmed that Paddock purchased guns from them after he passed the requirements.
Despite the record number of deaths, Trump said that “the speed with which [the police officers] acted is miraculous.” He also said that the “courageous efforts” of the first responders prevented more lives to be lost.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]