At least 50 people died in a shooting from Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Hotel on Sunday, with more than 400 injured. Suspect Stephen Paddock was found dead on the 32nd floor of the hotel. Authorities are also looking for two vehicles associated with the shooter, a Hyundai Tucson and a Chrysler Pacifica.
At this stage, it is unclear how the shooter fired onto the crowd below, where attendees were gathered for the Route 91 Harvest, a country music festival. Many hotels in Las Vegas don’t allow guests to open the windows, while others only allow for a very small vent-like opening.
“We were there enjoying our time and it was very obvious it was gunfire coming down into the crowd,” Las Vegas resident Jackie Hoffing told The Guardian. “It was hysteria. There were people trampled. I ran and I jumped walls and I was only with my husband. He stayed with me. We jumped walls, climbed cars, ran for our lives. I’ve never run that hard or been that scared in my whole life.”
“When it didn’t stop we all realized what was happening,” SiriusXM Country radio host Storme Warren, who was standing on the festival stage at the time, told CNN. “I cannot fathom what would drive a person to do that.”
Images show the windows of the hotel broken through.
There are several reasons why sealed-off windows are advantageous to Las Vegas hotels. Located in the Mojave Desert, the city experiences hot summers and windy winters, with dust and debris blowing through the landscape. In the summer, closed windows ensure a better regulated interior temperature with controlled air conditioning while guests are protected against external dirt in the rest of the year.
Another issue that sealed-off windows avoid is the tragic rate of suicides in the city. CBS News reported in 2004 that a visitor to the city commits suicide more than once a month.
“They pick Las Vegas and kill themselves,” former Clark County coroner Ron Flud told the publication. “It’s a fact.”
In pop culture, the fact that most hotel room windows in Vegas don’t open formed a core plot point of the 2009 film The Hangover. In their quest to find their friend Doug Billings, the group discovers his mattress impaled on a statue outside the hotel. The fact that the windows can’t open leads the group to conclude that he must be on the roof.
YouTube footage of the hotel interior shows how Mandalay Bay’s windows appear from the inside of the 32nd floor.
Another video shows how it appears from the inside of the 31st floor.
The hotel is located just across from the McCarran International Airport.
The Route 91 festival was taking place just across from the hotel.
Inverse has contacted the Mandalay Bay Hotel for comment.
Country star Jason Aldean, who was performing at the festival, shared a statement on Instagram.
“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” he said. “I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe. My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”
This story is developing and will be updated.