A gunman set himself up in a Las Vegas hotel room with an arsenal of rifles and killed 59 people, and injured more than 500, who were attending a country music festival below.
In what was America’s worst mass shooting retired accountant Stephen Paddock, 64, with no criminal record, took a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino and ended his cowardly and motiveless killing spree by killing himself as SWAT teams cleared the hotel and closed in. It is thought the gun smoke created from the firing of hundreds of rounds of ammunition set off the fire alarm in his room, helping the police to find him.
Reportedly Paddock had devices fitted to his semi-automatic rifles – “bump stocks” – which enabled the rifles to be fired continuously with one pull of the trigger. Since the massacre sales of these have soared and the value of shares in firearms manufacturers have also risen sharply.
Calls for tightening of gun law in the wake of the massacre have been largely ignored by President Trump, who reportedly values his friendly relationship with the powerful gun lobby there.
In the 50 years since 1966 America has seen thirteen other mass shootings of innocent men, women and children that have killed 250 and injured thousands, with four of the thirteen gunmen, and one couple being killed by police, five killing themselves and three jailed.