The partner of the gunman behind the worst mass shooting in America’s history, which claimed the lives of at least 50 people, has been identified as an Australian citizen.
Marilou Danley, 62, was detained by police in the early hours of Monday morning after her ‘companion’, Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire on a music festival just off the Las Vegas strip.
Ms Danley, who shared a house in the city with the mass murderer, holds an Australian passport and is believed to be of Indonesian heritage, The Australian reported.
Police say they do not believe Ms Danley is involved in or connected to the shooting.
She lived on the Gold Coast in Queensland for more than a decade with her former husband, an Australian man, who has since passed away. She moved to the United States 20 years ago.
‘I would never have thought she would be tied up in anything like this,’ a friend told the Courier Mail.
Police say Mr Paddock, described as a local man, opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Village from a room across the street in the Mandalay Bay Hotel shortly after 10pm.
Officers confirmed Paddock was shot and killed after they breached a room in the hotel, where he had stashed an ‘arsenal’ of weapons used during the massacre.
Investigators are now raiding the Mesquite home he shared with Marilou Danley, described as his ‘companion’, who was detained for questioning in the early hours of Monday morning.
She and the shooter are said to be companions; their precise relationship has not been explained.
Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said investigations are still ongoing and police have not yet determined a motive.
Revellers described hearing automatic rounds during the concert sparking mass panic and chaos.
Thousands fled as bursts of gunfire could be heard for more than five minutes, at least 50 were killed and 200 more injured.
A police handout said Ms Danley was being sought for questioning. The public were urged to call 911 if she was spotted.
Police were reported to be searching his house in the early hours of Monday morning, though have not given any indication of a motive.
An Australian couple and their teenage daughter who were caught up in the crossfire said the experience was the ‘scariest night of our life’.
Kevin Comerford, Nicole Shipman and her daughter Maddy Aspinall had been staying overnight in las Vegas attending a dance academy tour.
The family from Grafton in regional New South Wales were told to walk with their hands in the air across an empty casino following the shooting that claimed at least 50 lives.
‘This was supposed to be a one night special stop because we’d never been to Las Vegas before … we were planning to live it up for one night and we’ve had probably the scariest night of our life,’ Mr Comerford told AAP.
They had been staying in a hotel roughly two blocks from where the shooting took place and said it took them an hour to get safely back to their room.
Mr Comerford said his partner’s 14-year-old daughter was struggling with the situation.
‘The police had us walk through the empty casino with our hands above our head and it became very, very real for her then,’ he said.
‘That’s when she got very upset. She’s been a brave girl.’
A Perth woman told Fairfax she only checked out of the Mandalay the morning of the shooting and had been rushed out of another casino as the incident unfolded.
‘We were over at New York New York having some drinks with friends from Perth and there were police and ambulance and fire brigade everywhere and bodies on the street,’ she said.
‘People were terrified running around… we got in the lift to come up to the room where I my friends were staying and people were screaming and terrified. I’ve never seen faces like theirs before.’
Australia’s Consulate General in Los Angeles is currently speaking with police to determine if any Australians have been victims of the shooting.
‘If you have any concerns for the welfare of family and friends in the Las Vegas area, you should attempt to contact them directly,’ a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman told AAP.
People unable to make contact with loved ones should phone the DFAT emergency hotline: 1300 555 135, or +61 2 6261 3305
Worst mass shootings in US history
The Las Vegas shooting is the deadliest mass shooting in US history
49 dead – Orlando nightclub, June 2016: Omar Mateen launched a shooting attack on a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring 58 more. Mateen, who worked as a security guard, walked into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, with a handgun and AR-15 semi-automatic rifle before police stormed the club and fatally shot him.
32 dead – Virginia Tech, April 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, a student at Virginia Tech shot and killed 32 people and injured 17 others in two separate attacks around two hours apart. Cho, who had been accused of stalking two girls and declared mentally ill was allowed to purchase two pistols in the run up to the attack.
26 dead – Sandy Hook Elementary School, December 2012: Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza shot dead 20 children aged between six and seven in an attack that appalled the world. In the early hours of the morning Lanza shot his mother in the head before driving her car to the school and murdering 26 others.
23 dead – Luby’s Cafeteria, October 1991: George Hennard, drove his pickup truck through the front window of the restaurant, and immediately shot and killed 23 people, and wounded 27 others before fatally shooting himself.
21 dead – San Ysidro McDonald’s Restaurant, July 1984: Father of two, 41-year-old James Huberty, shot and killed 21 people and injured 19 others before being fatally shot by a team sniper at a San Francisco fast-food diner. He is reported to have told his wife before leaving the house that he was ‘going hunting humans’.
14 dead – San Bernardino, December 2015: Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, opened fire at a social services center in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and wounding more than 20. They fled the scene but died hours later in a shootout with police.
14 dead – Edmond post office, August 1986: Going on a mass rampage, postal worker Patrick Sherrill shot twenty co-workers, killing fourteen of them, before committing suicide himself.
13 dead – University of Texas Tower, August 1966: A model student and Eagle Scout who went on to become a Marine sharpshooter, Charles Whitman took to the observation deck atop the Main Building tower at the University of Texas and shot 13 people.
13 dead – Columbine High School, April 1999: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people in a meticulously planned attack that involved a firebomb used as a diversion and and stacks of explosives laid around their high school. The pair shot and killed 12 students and one teacher in an attack that reignited the US gun control policy.
13 dead – Fort Hood, Texas, November 2009: Thirteen soldiers and civilians were killed and more than two dozen wounded when a gunman walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas, and opened fire. The shooter Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was convicted on 13 counts of premeditated murder and sentenced to death.