The Route 91 Harvest country music festival was taking place across the road from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, near McCarran International Airport on the south side of the Las Vegas Strip. The gunman fired from across the street in high up in the Mandalay Bay casino.
Police are now confirming that the main suspect Stephen Paddock, age sixty-four, was a resident of Mesquite, Nevada is the only shooter and is dead. He was apprehended on the thirty-second floor of Mandalay Bay, where he died. Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo doesn’t believe there are more shooters.
Authorities have located a woman traveling with Paddock, Marilou Danley. Victims have yet to be identified but several police officers have shot according to the sheriff including two on-duty officers, one in critical condition. Other off-duty offers were shot and killed.
The question of course is, was this terrorism? The sheriff said he didn’t believe it was but added that it is an ongoing investigation. They have found no terrorist connections with Stephen Paddock. He was a white male and was not a military veteran. He had no criminal convictions in Nevada or run-ins with Mesquite police. He lived in a retirement community and apparently acted alone. Marilou Danley lived with him.
Today I write this with a grieving heart just as I’m sure you read this with sadness, grief, and stunned unbelief that one person in our world could cause so much pain and chaos. It is incredibly sad that what happened in Los Vegas last night could happen anywhere at any time. The feeling that we can do nothing to stop such things from happening again can be overwhelming.
But I am set in my faith because I know that we have a God that grieves with us. Our God, the Father, the Creator of everything, is a Father who loves his children so much that while we were still sinners, he sent his Son to die for us (Romans 8:5). He feels our pain and grief shown in Jesus weeping (John 11:35). “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18).
He wants us to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). But he also wants us to do what we can to heal what we can of this broken world. You see, if we just give up, the criminals win. Satan wins, who was “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44) who “comes only to kill and steal and destroy,” but Jesus “came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism said: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” So we can never give up. The more the world is in despair, the more the world needs the message of hope that only comes from Jesus.
Notice that after the shooting occurred, the mayor of Los Vegas posted this tweet – “Pray for Las Vegas.” Please do so, right now. Amen!