Emergency services set up a makeshift medical centre in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.Reuters
The deadliest shooting in recent US history unfolded — as most do — in a storm of chaos and confusion.
58 people were killed and more than 850 injured when a gunman opened fire at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip on October 1.
By the time the general public knew a shooting was underway, the gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, was already dead.
Despite an extensive investigation lasting the best part of a year, authorities ended their efforts without being able to determine Paddock’s motivation.
Here, moment by moment, is how the attack unfolded:
September 25, 2017: Stephen Paddock checks into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip.
The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, shortly after the shooting.Getty Images.
Paddock first arrived at the Mandalay Bay almost a whole week before the shooting.
Police originally said he checked in on Thursday September 28, but later updated the date to Monday 25, three days before.
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.
An old photograph of Stephen Paddock, provided to the media by his brother.AP
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.
10:05 p.m.: Paddock starts shooting out the window.
The shooting began with a hail of bullets on the crowd below, fired from Paddock’s hotel room.
Using multiple rifles, Paddock opened fired on the crowd of 22,000 people below him, from a distance where he would have had no ability to distinguish individual targets.
Officers started to exchange radio messages about the shooting.
Las Vegas police say that Paddock fired “a dozen or so volleys” overall during the shooting.
Watch footage from the scene here.
(NB: Earlier versions of the police timeline said the shooting began at 9:59 p.m. They have been revised.)
10:06 p.m.: Paddock shoots a security guard inside the Mandalay Bay.
Very soon after, Paddock turned his fire inside the building, and hit, but an employee just outside his hotel door.
In its final report into the shooting, the LVMPD said that security guard Jesus Campos was shot in the leg at 10.06 p.m. 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.
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.
Seven minutes after the first 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.
Police officers taking cover behind a patrol car that was in the line of fire from Stephen Paddock’s 32nd-floor room in Mandalay Bay.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 press conference in the days after the attack, a police spokesman 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.”
10:17 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 found Campos, the wounded security guard, who told them which room is Paddock’s.
They were 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.
Heavily armed police officers near Mandalay Bay.Getty Images
Again citing police radio, The New York Times said officers were right outside Paddock’s hotel room at 10:24 p.m., 19 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 an active-shooter alert locally. They thought there could be as many as 3 gunmen.
Broken windows, pictured the morning after the shooting, show the location of Paddock’s suite on the exterior of Mandalay Bay.AP/Business Insider
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 an active shooter.
Almost 40 minutes after the attack began, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wrote on Twitter that it was investigating an ongoing shooting.
10:40 p.m.: Police wait for back-up.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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.
He said officers were right to wait because Paddock was “contained” and had stopped firing out of the window.
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.
Footage published by the Daily Mail news site showing the inside of Stephen Paddock’s Mandalay Bay suite after the shooting was over.Daily Mail
One hour and five 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 timeline.
By this time Paddock had already killed himself.
“The Strike Team reported Paddock was down from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” the final report said.
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 had been alone.
October 2, 2017 12:31 a.m.: Incident declared over.
A candle-lit tribute in Las Vegas to the victims of the shooting.Reuters
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, 26 minutes after it began, the massacre was officially over.
The final death toll was 58. More than 800 people were injured.
August 3, 2018: Police release their final report on their investigation.
David Becker/Getty Images
Police concluded their investigation ten months after the shooting, and said they could not determine the motivation behind it.
Paddock did not leave a suicide note, the investigation concluded. There was no evidence he belonged to any terrorist organizations or hate groups, and he did not have a criminal record.
Police determined that he acted alone.
Investigators followed 2,000 leads, watched 22,000 hours of video, and examined 252,000 images.