Stephen Paddock – who has been described by police as a “lone wolf” gunman – killed at least 59 people and injured a further 527 after firing on a Las Vegas festival crowd of 22,000.
The 64-year-old was reportedly armed with as many as 23 weapons (including semi-automatic rifles), and had waited for three days in his hotel suite before striking. As police prepared to storm his room, Paddock committed suicide by turning one of the guns on himself.
The attack has been named the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, issued a statement on Twitter the morning following the attack:
My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017
“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting,” he wrote. “God bless you!”
Trump’s statement has sparked ire on Twitter, with many comparing it to his reaction to the Orlando shooting in 2016, in which a man named Omar Mateen killed 49 people in LGBT nightclub Pulse.
The president – still on the campaign trail at that point – was quick to tie the attack to “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place, was because we allowed his family to come here,” the POTUS said at the time.
“That is a fact, and it's a fact we need to talk about. We have a dysfunctional immigration system, which does not permit us to know who we let into our country, and it does not permit us to protect our citizens properly. We have an incompetent administration.”
He later tweeted:
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
People soon pointed out the stark differences between these two tweets:
As a predominant american white male you must condemn this act on behalf of all american white males and ban all white males from travelling https://t.co/BqOUyLY6SW— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) October 2, 2017
Trump’s reaction to the Orlando attack by Islamist Extremist vs the Las Vegas attack by a white man pic.twitter.com/gIFs71mTBA— Gemma (@gemmabrown_x) October 2, 2017
Trump has always been quick to cite “radical Islamic terrorism” for attacks in the past.
It took him less than a day to respond to terrorist attacks in Paris, Manchester and London, the last of which he used as a reason to plug his proposal for a travel ban halting refugees from entering the USA, as well as immigrants from seven “majority-Muslim countries,” including Syria, Somalia and Iran.
While his rhetoric on “radical Islam” is often violent and sweeping, Trump proved to be far more diplomatic about the white supremacist and racist groups who gathered for the rally in Charlottesville in August, claiming that many of them were “fine people” and there was blame on “many sides”.
However, this is not the only factor in Trump’s response to the Las Vegas shooting which has upset US citizens.
Trump’s speech following the massacre – in which he stated that the “Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” – has also been criticised, this time for avoiding the topic of gun control.
Trump has previously been incredibly vocal on the subject of gun rights: earlier this year, he spoke at a National Rifle Association (NRA) gathering, promising them his support while in office, saying that the ”assault” on the Second Amendment was over.
He also signed a bill revoking an Obama-era policy that placed mental illness checks on prospective gun buyers.
how many more times does this have to happen for trump to open his fucking eyes and understand that gun control is needed— makena (@MakenaGal) October 2, 2017
What a preachy speech from Trump. Absolute no sign of action whatsoever. "The answers don't come easily" he says. What about GUN CONTROL?!— Danny Lane (@dannylane94) October 2, 2017
That was a very powerful speech by Trump. It would have been more powerful if there was a call to any sort of action on gun control. https://t.co/otwQuUfFEa— Yochi Dreazen (@yochidreazen) October 2, 2017
White House: Now is not the time to talk about gun control...— Impeach Donald Trump (@Impeach_D_Trump) October 3, 2017
F**k You W.H.
If you would like to help those affected by the recent Nevada attack, the Las Vegas’ Victims Fund has raised more than $1.6 million (approximately £1.2 million) thanks to donations from around 20,000 people – funds which will be put towards funeral costs and medical bills of those caught up in the tragedy.
In situations like this, donated money can go toward things like funeral costs for those killed and medical bills to those injured. Those in Las Vegas are also encouraged to donate blood to help trauma centers' supplies.— McClatchyDC (@McClatchyDC) October 2, 2017
The National Compassion Fund is also seeking donations.
Images: Rex Features