The deadliest shooting in recent US history unfolded – as most do – in a storm of chaos and confusion.
Though the enormity of the situation emerged quickly Sunday night, details are still emerging of exactly what happened more than a week later.
The police have confirmed that the gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, spent three days in Las Vegas before his attack and managed to amass a huge stockpile of guns.
By the time the general public knew a shooting was underway, Paddock was already dead. Here, moment by moment, is how the attack unfolded:
Note: This post has been updated after multiple updates from Las Vegas police on the shooting, the latest of which was on October 9.
Thursday: Stephen Paddock checks into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip.
- Getty Images.
Paddock first arrived at the Mandalay Bay on Thursday.
According to the Associated Press, he asked for a high-level suite overlooking the Route 91 Harvest festival – but couldn’t immediately get one.
A hotel source said that he didn’t move in to the 32nd-floor room he used for the shooting until Saturday, the night before the attack.
The AP said he “was given the room for free because he was a good customer.”
Paddock transports huge quantities of weapons and ammunition into his room.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) say they found 23 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his room.
He appears to have planned meticulously for the attack. As well as a large number of guns, Paddock set up at least three cameras to monitor the corridor outside, police said.
Sunday, 9:40 p.m.: Route 91 Harvest festival begins its closing act.
— 95.5 The Bull (@955thebull) February 21, 2017
According to Fox News, the country star Jason Aldean went onstage at 9:40 p.m. on the night of the shooting. He played for half an hour before the shooting began.
He escaped unharmed and later paid tribute to his fans who were hurt and killed.
9.59 p.m.: Paddock shoots a security guard inside the Mandalay Bay.
The first shots Stephen Paddock fired on October 1 were not on crowds of country music fans, but an employee just outside his hotel door.
In an update several days after the shooting, the LVMPD said that at one minute to ten Paddock shot security guard Jesus Campos on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay.
Campos was investigating an open door – not the door to Paddock’s room – when he was hit in the leg. He alerted hotel security and stayed on the floor until police arrived.
Six minutes later, Paddock began his main killing spree.
10:05 p.m.: Paddock starts shooting out the window.
Using multiple rifles, Paddock rained bullets on the crowd of 22,000 people below him.
Police said security footage from inside the hotel showed the first shots were fired at 10:05 p.m.
Officers started to exchange radio messages about the shooting three mintues later. One exchange from 10:08 p.m., cited by Reuters, features a voice saying: “We got shots fired! It sounded like an automatic firearm.”
Las Vegas police say that Paddock fired “a dozen or so volleys” during the shooting. 58 people died.
10:12 p.m.: Police inside the hotel start to close in.
The first police to respond were officers who happened to be inside the Mandalay Bay for an event.
Within seven minutes of the shooting they had made their way to the 31st floor, according to an official police timeline, and knew the shooter was one floor above them.
10:13 p.m.: Police outside realise where the shots are coming from.
- Getty Images
Citing police radio transmissions, The New York Times said officers around Route 91 Harvest were still working out what was happening while colleagues inside the hotel were closing in.
Here two lines time-stamped 10:13 p.m.:
“It’s coming from like the 50th or 60th floor, north of the Mandalay Bay! It’s coming out a window.
“We’re seeing local flashes in the middle of Mandalay Bay on the north side, kind of on the west tower but towards the center of the casino, like one of the middle floors.”
10:15 p.m.: Paddock stops shooting out the window.
Police say that Paddock kept firing for “nine to 11 minutes.” In a briefing on Wednesday evening, a police gave a final time for the end of the attack as 10:15 p.m.
The New York Times cites police radio at 10:20 p.m. as saying “it’s been a while since we’ve heard any shots.”
10:16 p.m.: News hits social media.
One of the earliest records of the shooting is this tweet from the user @GLOKMIN:
i'm pretty sure a terrorist attack just happened next to me im at mandalay bay
— ㅤ???????? (@GLOKMIN) October 2, 2017
10:17 p.m.: First police arrive on Paddock’s floor.
The LVMPD timeline says that two of its officers were on the 32nd floor by 10:17 p.m., 12 minutes after the attack began. They find Campos, the wounded security guard, who tells them which room is Paddock’s.
They are soon joined by eight more officers, and spent some of the following 15 minutes systematically searching the floor’s other rooms and evacuating guests.
10:24 p.m.: Police officers gather near Paddock’s room.
- Getty Images
Again citing police radio, The New York Times said officers were right outside Paddock’s hotel room at 10:24 p.m., 16 minutes after the shooting began.
One message said: “I’m on the 32nd floor. The room is going to be 135.”
Another said: “It’s room 135 on the 32nd floor. I need the SWAT.”
It would be almost another hour, however, until officers would break into Paddock’s room.
10:25 p.m.: The police issue active-shooter alert locally.
Taxi drivers in the area received a message direct from the police at 10:25 p.m. telling them to avoid the Mandalay Bay area.
According to Reuters, it said: “Drivers avoid LV Blvd and Tropicana. Active shooting from Mandalay Bay. Possible 3 shooters.”
Approximately 10:30 p.m.: Officers on the scene order passersby to take cover.
Reuters reported that minutes after the alert to cab drivers, the police started herding people inside Mandalay Bay to get them out of the line of sight of the gunman.
10:38 p.m.: The police publicly confirm active shooter.
Half an hour after the attack began, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wrote on Twitter that it was investigating an ongoing shooting:
We're investigating reports of an active shooter near/around Mandalay Bay Casino. Asking everyone to please avoid the area. #LVMPDnews
— LVMPD (@LVMPD) October 2, 2017
10:40 p.m.: Police wait for back-up.
According to Newsweek, officers asked permission to enter Paddock’s room sooner but were told to wait for SWAT teams.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Undersheriff Kevin C. McMahill defended that decision in a press conference, saying that waiting was an option because Paddock was “contained” and had stopped firing out of the window.
Explaining the decision, he said: “The floor had been evacuated of any guests, the suspect was contained and isolated within a room.”
11:20 p.m.: SWAT teams break into Paddock’s room and find him dead.
- Daily Mail
One hour, 12 minutes after the first shots were fired, a police SWAT unit detonated an explosive device to break down Paddock’s door, according to the police tiemline.
By this time Paddock had already killed himself.
11:20 p.m.: Officers break down a second door and declare the scene safe.
SWAT officers noticed a second, closed, door when they burst into Paddock’s suite, and could not immediately be sure what was behind it.
They used a second explosive charge to burst it open, at which point they could see the entire suite and were certain that Paddock was alone.
11:58 p.m.: The police confirm that the gunman is “down.”
Two minutes before midnight, and almost two hours after the first shots were fired, the Las Vegas police tweeted confirmation that “one suspect is down”:
Confirming that one suspect is down. This is an active investigation. Again, please do not head down to the Strip at this time.
— LVMPD (@LVMPD) October 2, 2017
Monday, 12:31 a.m.: Incident declared over.
It was not until 31 minutes past midnight – more than an hour since Paddock was found dead – that the police department sent a follow-up tweet saying it thought the dead man was the only attacker.
Two hours, 32 minutes after it began, the massacre was officially over.