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Up to 50 feared dead in Las Vegas concert shooting

Los Angeles, United States | AFP |  A gunman may have killed up to 50 people and wounded more than 100 others Sunday when he opened fire on thousands of fans at a country music concert on the Las Vegas Strip.

The gunman, who police said was a local man, was killed after being “engaged” by officers who responded to reports of multiple gunfire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay, a hotel-casino next to the concert venue in the gambling hub.

Revelers screamed and fled in panic as a steady stream of automatic gunfire rang out at the venue shortly after 10:00 pm local time (0500 GMT Monday), footage captured on smart phones showed.

“We have in excess of 100-plus injured and excess of 20-plus that have died at this point,” Las Vegas Metro Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told an early morning press conference.

Two of those killed are believed to be off-duty police officers, said Lombardo.

“This is an ongoing investigation, but we are comfortable that the primary aggressor in this event … has expired or passed away, and is no longer a threat,” he added.

Thousands of fans were attending the concert next to the Mandalay Bay which was part of a three-day country music festival known as Route 91.

– ‘Like firecrackers’ –

Witnesses told how the gunman opened fire with an inital long burst, and then appeared to reload as he continued his spree.

“We heard (what) sounded like a glass breaking, so you looked around to see what’s going on and then heard a pop, pop, pop,” Monique Dekerf told CNN.

“You’d think for a moment okay we’re fine, there’s no more gunfire, then it starts again.”

Her sister Rachel said it sounded like “the shots were coming from the right side … it sounded like they were right beside us too … it was right there.”

Best-selling country singer Jason Aldean was on stage and near the end of his concert when the shooting began.

“We were watching the concert having a great time, then we heard what sounded like firecrackers,” witness Joe Pitz told the local Las Vegas Sun news outlet.

“I guess it was an automatic weapon going off but it literally sounded like firecrackers.

“Then soon enough there was commotion on the Mandalay Bay side of the stage. They were motioning for medics to come and safety people to come and Jason Aldean ran off the stage.

“Everybody in the vicinity went down. I don’t know if they were ducking or if they were but it was chaos.” (See raw video page 2)

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