ISIS claims Las Vegas shooting and says attacker Stephen Paddock was ‘soldier’ who converted to Islam ‘months ago’
ISIS has claimed responsibility for a shooting that left at least 50 people dead and more than 400 others injured at a packed music festival in Las Vegas.In a statement via its Amaq news agency, the terror group said the gunman, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, was a “soldier of the Islamic State”.
It also claimed he had converted to Islam a few months ago – and had carried out the deadly attack “in response to calls to target states of the coalition”.Despite the extremist militant group’s claims, police had told reporters earlier today that the massacre was not believed to be an act of terrorism.
They said they had no information about Paddock’s motive, he had no criminal record and was not believed to be connected to any militant group.
Referring to the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in the Middle East, Amaq’s statement read:
“The Las Vegas attack was carried out by a soldier of the Islamic State and he carried it out in response to calls to target states of the coalition.”
“The Las Vegas attacker converted to Islam a few months ago,” it added. The statement comes after the first picture of Paddock emerged, hours after innocent revellers were gunned down at the Route 91 Harvest music festival.
Police say the 64-year-old, from Nevada, killed himself before they stormed his room on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
As well as the 50 people tragically confirmed dead, around 406 others have been left injured after the suspect apparently opened fire from a balcony.
Paddock is believed to have used a high-powered assault rifle to blast his victims at the end of a performance by country music star Jason Aldean.Police responded to the shooting at about 10pm local time.
Video clips posted online captured what sounded like automatic weapons as panicked concert-goers fled and dropped to the ground, screaming.
Witnesses later described how they saw victims fleeing as shots rained down. Some later huddled in the basement of the nearby Tropicana hotel-casino.
Pictures of the scene showed many victims lying on the ground, covered in blood. Others captured people, both young and old, running for their lives.
After quickly arriving at the scene, some police officers were seen taking cover behind their vehicles, while others carrying assault rifles ran into the hotel.Police said Paddock is believed to have acted alone.
Officers had earlier launched a search for a female “associate” called Marilou Danley – reportedly Paddock’s roommate – in relation to the shooting.They later located Ms Danley and said she was no longer a “person of interest.