(TNS) - Las Vegas police have long feared an attack by a shooter, said former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who touched down in the city last night ahead of a crisis-planning meeting today with hotel security chiefs, before a sniper carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history from his 32nd-floor Mandalay Bay Resort hotel room.
"There's always been a fear - not so much among the security chiefs, but by the police out here - that there would be an attack. It is is their worst fear coming true," Davis told the Herald in a phone interview from Vegas this morning.
"This is, just on its face, a big glaring target for Islamic terrorists. And now you've got a yahoo with a machine gun firing at people from a hotel window. It's terrible times," he said.
"Working on presidential visits and with the Secret Service, snipers are a concern for them, but you don't think about it around a concert. I can tell you I don't have a solution," he said.
Authorities have identified the suspect as Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old white resident of Mesquite, Nev., with no immediately apparent link to any extremist groups. He began opening fire on 22,000 concert-goers at 10:08 p.m.
Davis, who does private security consulting, said he'd grabbed a quick dinner with a colleague last night and was headed back to his room a couple miles up the strip from the Mandalay as "police, fire and EMS were just ripping by the hotel. There was clearly something going on," he said. "At the Mandalay Bay hotel there were people coming downstairs to take shelter, but they couldn't be let outside. What do you do with a whole hotel of people in that situation? So they were sent back to their rooms."
The 50 people pronounced dead so far include an off-duty Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer, his department confirmed this morning. Two on-duty officers are among the more than 405 injured people rushed to area hospitals from the scene.
The FBI is this morning appealing to anyone who was at or near the concert when the gunfire erupted during country superstar Jason Aldean's set to share their videos and photographs with federal investigators.
While there may ultimately be solutions implemented for deterring future attacks of this type, including bag checks of anyone entering hotels, Davis noted of the options, "none of them are good."
The fully automatic weapon Paddock is suspected of using is easily broken down into small pieces that could fit in luggage, he said.
Last night's massacre eclipsed the carnage of last year's terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., which claimed 49 lives and injured 58.
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