Live updates: 59 killed and hundreds injured in Las Vegas shooting

A gunman has killed at least 59 people and wounded more than 500 at a country music festival in Las Vegas Strip, raining down rapid fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel for several minutes before he died from a gunshot wound.

What you need to know:

  • 59 people dead, more than 500 injured - the deadliest mass shooting in US history
  • Trump administration says talks around gun control law 'premature'
  • MFAT confirms no New Zealanders killed or injured
  • Gunman's partner, currently in custody, is an Australian citizen
  • More than 19 rifles found in hotel room, two on tripods with scopes
  • Gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, may have used modified weapons, allowing him to spray bullets at the crowd
  • Follow-up California university shooting confirmed as a hoax

This live updates article has now ended.

9:50pm: Distributors of fake news used Google and Facebook's algorithms to their advantage to spread hoaxes in the midst of the Las Vegas massacre.

Retiree Stephen Paddock shot and killed 59 people at a country music concert on Sunday night (local time), and injured more than 500 more.

As word of the attack spread online, so did hoax stories, which relied on Google and Facebook's distribution structure to spread quickly.

A suspect misidentified on user-generated content website 4chan quickly became one of the top results on Google. The site is notorious for spreading fake news and racism.

Forbes reports a Facebook 'safety check' feature, activated for those in the area to identify themselves as safe for their friends and family, promoted stories from right-wing news sites Gateway Pundit and Blogspot, which also falsely identified the shooter.

The wrongly-accused suspect quickly circulated the internet, even making it onto some legitimate news sites.

Google changed its algorithms in October 2014 so that non-journalistic sites could still be included in the "in the news" section.

This morning they told The Atlantic they took down the 4chan Google hits "within hours".

"The 4chan story was algorithmically replaced by relevant results. This should not have appeared for any queries, and we'll continue to make algorithmic improvements to prevent this from happening in the future."

In the past Facebook has employed extra staff to manually monitor the site during significant events, when there's a high interest in news content.

9:15pm: Police are working to establish why a retiree with a penchant for gambling but no criminal record set up a sniper's nest in a high-rise Las Vegas hotel and poured gunfire onto a concert below, leaving at least 59 dead and another 527 injured.

The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, left no immediate hint of his motive for the arsenal of high-powered weaponry he amassed, including 34 guns, or the carnage he inflicted on a crowd of 22,000 attending an outdoor country music festival.

Paddock was not known to have served in the military, or to have suffered from a history of mental illness or to have registered any inkling of social disaffection, political discontent or radical views on social media.

US officials also discounted a claim of responsibility by the militant Islamic State group.

Police believed Paddock acted alone but were at a loss to explain what might have precipitated it.

"We have no idea what his belief system was," Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters. "I can't get into the mind of a psychopath."

Paddock shared his house with reported Australian girlfriend Marilou Danley, who is in Toyko. Authorities want to speak to her upon her return to the US.

Mr Lombardo also said detectives were "aware of other individuals" who were involved in the sale of weapons Paddock acquired.

Still, the closest Paddock appeared to have ever come to a brush with the law was for a traffic infringement, authorities said.

9:10pm: A freelance journalist working for Newshub is in Las Vegas, and says the shooting has stripped the glitz and glamour from the city.

"My taxi driver told me how almost every fare he'd taken today had been someone affected in some way by the tragic shooting," Simon Hampton says.

"He ferried shaken passengers out to the airport, cutting short their dream Vegas holiday after a night out they won't forget for all the wrong reasons. He brought in family and friends of those directly affected by the massacre."

But Hampton say there are also many determined to return to normality.

"One Kiwi I spoke to who was in the midst of Vegas last night said they were returning to their usual holiday plans the today.

"'If we run away from the city we're letting them win,' she told me."

9:00pm: Jimmy Kimmel has fought through tears to address the Las Vegas mass shooting.

On Monday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host broke down, when he began his late-night talk show on the events in his hometown the night before.

"Of course, we pray for the victims and their families and friends, and we wonder why, even though there's probably no way to ever know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings.

"This morning, we have children without parents and fathers without sons, mothers without daughters… we lost two police officers, we lost a nurse, a special education teacher.

"It's the kind of thing that makes you want to throw up or give up. There are families who are going to have to live with this pain forever, because one person with a violent and insane voice in his head managed to stockpile a high-powered collection of rifles."

8:30pm: Former New Zealand military man, Genghis Cohen, owns a machine gun range in Las Vegas.

He told Newshub there needs to be increased gun control if they're to stop the massacres.

"America's gun laws are pretty lax to a certain degree and there [are] a lot of loopholes in the law that allow these type of weapons to be put in the hands of the wrong people."

Mr Cohen supports the right to carry, but not without restrictions.

"If we're going to give someone the right to carry something that's specifically designed to kill other humans I think there needs to be a bit more control, training and monitoring of these people."

7:30pm: New Zealand's United States ambassador Scott Brown says it's too early to tell whether the deadliest massacre in US history will prompt President Donald Trump to consider tighter gun regulations.

"Certainly he's one person that can help... it's really up to the voters to elect people that they feel can speak on their behalf and change those laws," Mr Brown told Three's The Project.

"But this just happened yesterday and with respect, it's been tough to digest all of the new facts and information. So I can't speak for the president but I'm hopeful that this will trigger a debate in the United States to have a top to bottom review of every law dealing with firearms, and then let the people decide where they want to go with this."

Mr Brown says he used to be in favour with the National Rifle Association (NRA), but had a falling out with them when he slightly changed his view on gun laws.

"I'm a gun owner, I have two guns, I respect firing, I enjoy target practice. But I voted to continue on with the expansion and continuation of the assault weapons ban in Massachusetts.

"So I went from an A plus to a C minus rating [with the NRA]. It's cool, I don't think I lost because of that... but I felt that their true colours came out because I am a gun owner and respect the right for people to carry and bear arms."

6:50pm: A number of New Zealanders who were caught up in Las Vegas shooting are still trying to come to terms with what they saw.

New Zealander Ben Northrop, from Wellington, had just arrived in the city when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire at a crowd attending a country music festival, killing 59.

On Tuesday he told Newshub it took him a while to realise it was not a fireworks display.

"There was the last trail of automatic gunfire… and then not much screaming but just people running and then an immense amount of sirens like nothing I've ever seen before."

Just metres away people were taking cover, hiding anywhere they could, not knowing where the gunfire was coming from.

Among them another Kiwi, Tanya Mickleburgh and her 13-year-old son Ryan.

"We ran through a souvenir t-shirt shop and then we went to the Marriott Hotel for safety," Ms Mickleburgh says.

"When we were running it was pretty scary," Ryan added, "but I felt a bit better once we were at [the hotel]".

There are currently 61 Kiwis registered on SafeTravel as being in Las Vegas. 

6:30pm: So far this year there have been more than 46,000 gun violence incidents in the United States.

Thirty-one percent of the world's mass shootings have been carried out in the US, where there are around 300 million guns - one for every citizen, man, woman or child.

Gun laws in Nevada are among the most relaxed in the United States.

You don't need a permit to have a rifle or shotgun and you can carry them around - including into bars, and even while having a drink.

5:00pm: The gunman who fired on Las Vegas concertgoers might have used fully automatic weapons - or guns legally modified to act like them - that allowed him to spray bullets into the crowd of 22,000 people.

A US law enforcement official told Reuters authorities believed Stephen Paddock, 64, had at least two such weapons when he fired from his 32nd-floor hotel room, killing at least 59 people and injuring hundreds more.

The rat-a-tat sound of the gunfire on Sunday night prompted police to report the gunman was using an "automatic" weapon - a term often used to describe a fully automatic gun that can fire as many rounds as its magazine holds by pulling and holding the trigger.

Those weapons have been largely outlawed for three decades, though Paddock could also have used legal or illegal means to alter semi-automatic rifles, which fire a round every time the trigger is pulled.

Police said they recovered 42 weapons belonging to Paddock, including 23 from the hotel room and 19 at his home in Mesquite.

Some were automatic weapons or semi-automatic rifles illegally modified into fully automatic weapons.

It was not clear when or how Paddock obtained the guns.

4:55pm: Hip-hop star Future has been slammed for promoting an upcoming Las Vegas concert online, not long after the deadly shooting at an open-air concert in the city.

Stephen Craig Paddock killed at least 59 people and wounded more than 500 at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. Only hours later, Future's rep tweeted an ad for the show scheduled on Halloween weekend, unfortunately entitled 'Horror Story'.

This comes after the 'Mask Off' hitmaker cancelled his Auckland show and all remaining Australian tour dates last week, after the death of a friend. Future's rep said in a statement that they "regret to advise that a very close friend of Future's has passed away and, as a result, he is rushing back to the USA to attend the funeral".

While the tweet was most likely a pre-scheduled accident, the resulting tweets from fans have been scathing.

4:25pm: A country musician performing at the Las Vegas concert where dozens of people were killed said the attack has completely changed his view on gun control.

Guitarist Caleb Keeter was performing as part of the Josh Abbott band at the event and said he's always been a staunch defender of the second amendment - the right to bear arms - until now.

"I cannot express how wrong I was," he said.

Keeter said several members of his crew had legal firearms on their buses, but "they were useless".

"We couldn't touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us," he said.

Keeter said the shooter had "access to an insane amount of firepower" and said "enough is enough".

"We need gun control RIGHT. NOW. My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn't realise it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it."

3:50pm: Lines at the blood banks are stretching out the doors as hundreds queue up to donate to the 500 hospitalised.

The wait is between six and eight hours, with residents and visitors alike wanting to give blood.

Live updates: 59 killed and hundreds injured in Las Vegas shooting
Photo credit: Reuters

The United Blood Services says the need for blood will not die down anytime soon.

"Blood has a shelf life, so it is important that donations are given on an ongoing basis."

3:30pm: Veteran boxing trainer Kevin Barry has spoken out over the personal impact the Las Vegas shootings have had on his family.

Barry, trainer of Kiwi heavyweight champion Joseph Parker and a Las Vegas resident for over 14 years, told NZME that a friend of his 22-year-old son Taylor had been shot dead.

His wife Tanya's good friend was also shot in the chest, while her daughter was wounded in the arm.

"When you've got 59 people dead and 527 in hospital injured, you know that you're going to know some people and my wife woke up this morning with a lady friend of hers and her daughter... were both shot last night - the mother in the chest and the daughter in the arm," said Barry.

"Both are alive but they've had a rough time."

2:50pm: A fundraiser page set up for the families of the 59 people killed, and hundreds more injured, has raised more than $2 million in less than 24 hours.

The verified fund will be used to "provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of the horrific Las Vegas mass shooting," the page reads.

The fundraising website, GoFundMe, collects 5 percent from every donation – and will take more than $150,000 of the money.

2:45pm: An executive for US television network CBS has been fired after making "unacceptable" comments following the deadly Las Vegas shooting overnight.

Hayley Getfman-Gold posted on Facebook saying she wasn't sympathetic with the victims of the shooting.

"If they wouldn't do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing," she wrote.

"I'm actually not even sympathetic [because] country music fans often are Republican gun toters."

CBS responded by dismissing the legal executive.

"This individual, who was with us for approximately one year, violated the standards of our company and is no longer an employee of CBS," it read.

"Her views as expressed on social media are deeply unacceptable to all of us at CBS. Our hearts go out to the victims in Las Vegas and their families."

2:20pm: Warner Bros has scaled back the world premiere for its sci-fi film Blade Runner 2049 following the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

The premiere for the film, which stars Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, was scheduled for Tuesday night in Hollywood.

The screening will go ahead but without a red carpet where stars chat to reporters and pose for photos.

"In light of the tragic events of last night, Warner Bros Pictures, Sony Pictures and Alcon Entertainment are cancelling the red carpet for tomorrow's screening of Blade Runner 2049," Warner Bros said in a statement.

Monday's red-carpet premiere in Los Angeles for the movie Marshall was also cancelled and ABC television said Dancing With the Stars would begin with a moment of silence on Monday.

Variety also reported Las Vegas shows Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group cancelled Monday night performances.

2:10pm: Social media users are taking to Twitter to condemn the White House for not taking action on gun control in light of the massacre.

A number of officials are tweeting their condolences using the hashtag #thoughtsandprayers.

President Donald Trump sent "his warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting."

However, many are calling on those in power to do more than "pray".

"Politicians will learn of this horrific mass shooting and offer their empty #ThoughtsAndPrayers, which they use as a way to avoid action," one user said.

"America needs #GunControlNow, not #thoughtsandprayers. The former will save lives and the latter is just an empty platitude," another commented.

1:50pm: Las Vegas medical staff have told how they raced to save the victims of the shooting.

There were so many wounded, the public helped to take them to hospital.

"Many of these injured were taken by civilians," former Las Vegas police officer Randy Sutton told CBS News.

"There simply weren't enough ambulances to get there in time."

Trauma doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff worked under intense pressure to treat the huge number of wounded, many who suffered from gunshot wounds.

"When you think of more than one hundred shooting victims, ballistic injuries, that is an absolutely giant number," Bruno Petinaux, the chief medical officer and co-chair of emergency management at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC told NPR.

"When you're talking about a mass casualty incident like this, this is where you call in the backup, and you call in the backup to the backup, and you may have to message the rest of your medical staff that you may need their help."

With hospitals full of victims, some patients were treated in the hallways. The Washington Times reported some hospital staff were treating people in parking lots.

1:30pm: Disgraced former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly says the mass shooting in Las Vegas is simply "the price of freedom".

"Public safety demands logical gun laws but the issue is so polarizing and emotional that little will be accomplished as there is no common ground," O'Reilly wrote in a blog post on his website.

"The NRA and its supporters want easy access to weapons, while the left wants them banned.

"This is the price of freedom. Violent nuts are allowed to roam free until they do damage, no matter how threatening they are.

"The Second Amendment is clear that Americans have a right to arm themselves for protection. Even the loons."

1:21pm: Police officers and the FBI are preparing to raid another of the Nevada houses belonging to gunman Stephen Paddock.

Twelve officers carrying rifles have been joined by three SWAT team trucks and a bomb squad truck outside the Reno home, according to reports.

His neighbour Dee McKay told the Associated Press she last saw Paddock in June 2017, when he moved to Mesquite - a suburb in a different part of Nevada.

Stephen Paddock's home in Mesquite, Nevada.
Stephen Paddock's home in Mesquite, Nevada. Photo credit: Getty

The authorities earlier searched his home there, but found nothing of significance.

1:04pm: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Marilou Danley, the 62-year-old partner of Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock, has been cleared of any involvement in the shooting.

Having lived on the Gold Coast for several years with her former husband, Ms Danley was revealed to be an Australian citizen earlier on Tuesday (NZ time).

She was suspected of being involved in the incident, but it has since emerged she may have been dragged into the investigation because her partner used some of her ID when checking into the hotel.

"She has been cleared of involvement in the incident, although I'm sure that with the ongoing investigation, she will need speak to the US authorities at some point," Ms Bishop said.

12:46pm: The SWAT team responsible for tracking gunman Stephen Paddock down have revealed they used the smoke emitted by his firearms to track him down.

While it would've taken them an age to search the entire 3309-room Mandalay Bay hotel in search of Paddock, they used the hotel's smoke alarms to zero in on his room on the 32nd floor.

It only took them 20 minutes to find him, the Washington Post reports, and they used explosives to get inside his room.

Paddock had killed himself before they entered, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.

12:31pm: More chilling videos have emerged showing the terror when the bullets first started ringing out. Horrifying.

Warning: The below videos may disturb some viewers.

12:13pm: A Nevada gun shop owner has released a statement admitting gunman Stephen Paddock bought firearms from his store.

Christopher Sullivan, the general manager of Guns & Guitars, says the 64-year-old assailant had shown no signs of being unfit to buy weapons.

He added that all the necessary background checks had been undertaken, and that he is now cooperating fully with law enforcement.

The store refused to comment on how many guns Paddock had bought from them.

11:48am: Shares in gun manufacturers have risen in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting.

The stock prices of gun maker American Outdoor Brands Corp and Storm Ruger & Co rose by around 3 percent, while ammunition manufacturer Vista Outdoors Inc stocks rose more than 2 percent.

It is believed investors are expecting people to start stocking up more on firearms, as the conversation around gun control rumbles on after yet another mass shooting.

The rises of those three companies were in contrast to the overall pattern in trading on Friday.

11:07am: It was confirmed earlier that 19 rifles - two positioned on tripods and fitted with scopes - and hundreds of rounds of ammo were found in gunman Stephen Paddock's room.

That's now been upped to thousands of rounds of ammunition - and Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of Clark County says there were also explosives.

Mandalay Bay hotel staff had apparently been inside Paddock's room after he checked in, but hadn't noticed anything concerning.

Sheriff Lombardo also confirmed the death toll had climbed to at least 59.

10:52am: Gunman Stephen Paddock's partner is an Australian citizen.

Marilou Danley, 62, is currently a person of interest following the attack, and has been revealed to have an Australian passport.

The Australian reports that she is originally from the Philippines, but is also a citizen of Australia.

She was out of the country at the time of her partner's attack, and police have expressed they do not believes he was at all connected to the shooting.

10:21am: A look at US gun violence statistics shows just how common incidents like the Las Vegas shooting are.

While none in history have reached quite the same scale as this one, there have been 273 shootings resulting in the deaths of four or more people this year.

That's almost exactly one every single day.

Take a look at more America's shocking mass shooting statistics here.

9:45am: More jarring footage from the concert shows hordes of people huddling together after the first bullets ring out, and others running in all directions.

The video was taken by a concert-goer in the centre of the venue - and it's a harrowing watch.

9:38am: It has emerged a woman at the front of the concert had told fellow attendees that they were "all going to die tonight", less than an hour before gunfire started.

Speaking to KSNV, 21-year-old Brianna Hendricks said a lady pushed her way to the front of the concert before turning around and giving a now chilling speech.

"He started messing with another lady, and told us that we were all going to die tonight," she said.

"It was about 45 minutes before the shots were actually fired, but then she was escorted out by security."

Police say they don't believe the woman had any role in the attack.

9:21am: A police search in Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock's Mandalay Bay hotel room resulted in the discovery of 19 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Two of the rifles were reportedly mounted on tripods and were set up to shoot outside of his hotel room's two windows.

Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of Clark County said he had smashed through the window's with a hammer-like device before firing a volley of bullets at the crowd below.

9:03am: The University of Southern California shooting has been found to be a hoax.

It was reported by someone believed to be mentally unwell.

8:40am: Another shooting has reportedly broken out on the campus of the University of Southern California.

At the moment, there's just reports of shots fired that have not been confirmed - but it's definitely one to keep an eye on.

Follow at this link:

8:19am: (From left to right) First lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House.

Live updates: 59 killed and hundreds injured in Las Vegas shooting
Photo credit: Getty

7:54am: The Trump administration says it would be "premature" to start discussing the tightening of gun control legislation now.

In a press briefing held by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, she said while "there's a time and place for a political debate", now is the time "to unite as a country".

"There's currently an open and ongoing law enforcement investigation," she said.

"A motive is yet to be determined, and it would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don't fully know all of the facts or what took place last night."

7:43am: CBS correspondent Danielle Nottingham has told The AM Show there's a waiting game going on as the victims of the shooting are identified, as well as the gunman's motives.

"The city has set up a hotline for people to report someone who is missing, and they're also asking - we're talking over 500 that are wounded - for the public to donate blood," she said.

Ms Nottingham also spoke about the delay experienced by concert-goers as they tried to ascertain what was going on.

"A lot of eyewitnesses say this might be something that was part of the show - maybe some fireworks, maybe something that was part of the performance.

"But after a while it became clear it was something very serious and very real when they saw people literally falling and running away."

7:24am: Ben Northrop, a Kiwi in Las Vegas, has spoken for the second time about his experience.

He said he and a few friends were driving down the street when they heard gunfire - and not knowing what it was, they joked about not wanting to get involved in a "crazy gunfight".

Little did they know how accurate that comment would prove to be.

"We were going into a crazy gunfight," Mr Northrop told The AM Show.

"Police were running out, people taking shelter, people running out onto the street. Police were setting up cordons, and then all of a sudden there were hundreds of police cars.

"It was like a scene out of The Blues Brothers, it was completely mental. It was a pretty chaotic few hours."

7:12am: Jason Aldean, the star of the concert that ended up being the scene of a devastating mass shooting, has described the incident as "beyond horrific" in an Instagram post.

"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."

7:02am: Patrice Howard has told The AM Show the semi-automatic rifle the assailant used to carry out the attack is very difficult to obtain - in even the lax Nevada.

"Gun laws in this state, in Nevada, are quite loose. People can acquire guns [here] easier than in other states," she said.

"But a semi-automatic weapon - they are not seen very often in crimes because they are so hard to get.

"Police are looking into this man's background - he has no criminal record, he has no confrontations with police in the past, his family says he lived a quiet life.

"So police are very much unclear as to why he would've come to Las Vegas two days ago, and carried out this attack without any forewarning."

6:53am: US correspondent Patrice Howard has told The AM Show thousands of tourists in the city have been left traumatised by the incident.

She says at first - and as evidenced by the video in the update below - no one even knew that gunfire had erupted.

"We saw the star of the show, Jason Aldean, notice what was going on, note that he didn't have fireworks at his show. He ran off-stage when he caught on that something was wrong," she said.

"People started noticing that literally people standing next to them were being hit by bullets - and it was really a barrage of bullets, because what police believe is this was a semi-automatic weapon that the assailant used.

"He essentially rained bullets on this crowd - we saw parents jumping on children to protect them and unfortunately we saw loved ones sitting next to their significant other as they passed away.

"It's a very sad scene, and right now people are more so in shock than anything else."

6:42am: Upsetting footage has emerged showing the moment the gunman opened fire on concert-goers.

A warning: the video may disturb some viewers.

6:33am: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed no New Zealanders have been killed or injured in the Las Vegas shooting.

Forty-four people are registered on Government website SafeTravel as being in Las Vegas.

6:20am: US President Donald Trump has offered his "warmest condolences and sympathies" in the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in the country's history.

He said: "Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence, and though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today."

6:09am: The gunman's brother, Eric Paddock, says he's in total shock and "dumbfounded" by his sibling's actions.

"He was just a guy," he said.

"There's no rhyme or reason here, it makes no sense ... He has no political affiliation, no religious affiliation, as far as we know. This wasn't a terror attack."

"Something happened, he snapped or something. We know absolutely nothing, this is just - we are dumbfounded."

5:36am: The death toll, which police emphasised was preliminary, would make the attack the deadliest mass shooting in US history, eclipsing last year's massacre of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub.

The gunman opened fire from the Mandalay Bay Hotel at the open-air music festival being held nearby.

Authorities have identified the gunman as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock.

He acted alone and was not believed to be connected to any militant group, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.

"We have no idea what his belief system was," Mr Lombardo said. "Right now, we believe he was the sole aggressor and the scene is static."

Police also have located 62-year-old Marilou Danley, who was wanted as a person of interest in this incident. Mr Lombardo gave no details of whether she was suspected of involvement in Sunday night's (Monday NZT) attack but described her as an "associate".

Mr Lombardo said rumours of other shootings or explosives such as car bombs in the area were false.

Video taken of the attack showed panicked crowds fleeing as sustained rapid gunfire ripped through the area.

"I heard what we thought was firecrackers, and we looked to the right of us and there was a woman down covered in blood," a witness identified as Emily told local Fox affiliate KLAS.

"From that point on we just ran. We hid wherever we could, and now in an (aeroplane) hangar.

"We had no idea, it was just rapid fire. We all thought we were dead. It was awful. It just kept going, and going and going.

"It felt like an eternity but it went for at least several minutes."

A witness who gave her name as Christine was in tears as she told local TV that she saw a man shot in front of her.

"They were trying to take him out and he was all bloody, and unconscious," she said.

"My friend was helping him out and they got him out, and we ran."

She said people were hiding wherever they could, including under her car.

"Everyone was telling us to run as fast as you can," she said.

"There was a gentleman who was shot and he was asking me for help."

A witness told dpa she heard multiple gunshots before fleeing, and said she "crawled over dead people" as she tried to get away.

Mike McGarry, a 53-year-old financial adviser from Philadelphia, was at the concert when he heard hundreds of shots ring out.

"It was crazy - I laid on top of the kids. They're 20. I'm 53. I lived a good life," Mr McGarry said. The back of his shirt bore footmarks, after people ran over him in the panicked crowd.

Some police officers took cover behind their vehicles while others carrying assault rifles ran into the hotel and casino.

Many casinos in the area locked their doors during the incident to keep out any potential attackers, some using handcuffs to do so, according to witnesses.

"Caesar's Palace had locked their doors. They wouldn't let you in," said Adam Mitchell, a 31-year-old tourist visiting from Britain.

Authorities shut down part of the Las Vegas strip and Interstate 15.

McCarran International Airport officials say all flights in and out have been temporarily halted.