Swiss authorities have expressed their condolences to victims and their loved ones following Sunday’s shooting massacre on the Las Vegas Strip. No Swiss citizens have been reported injured or missing.
“It is with dismay and profound sadness that the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs learned of the terrible attack in Las Vegas which left so many dead or wounded. The FDFA expresses its deepest sympathy to the families of the victims,” a department spokesman told swissinfo.ch on Monday.
“The FDFA is in contact with the local authorities and in the process of clarifying whether any Swiss citizens are amongst the victims of the attack. We have not received any reports or queries in relation to the incident so far,” the spokesman told swissinfo.ch.
A total of 59 people were killed and another 527 injured after a sniper fired into a crowd gathered for a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Police say the gunman, a 64-year-old local area resident, killed himself as well. He was taking aim from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip. It is the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
“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.” Police found ten rifles in the man’s hotel room. Federal agents said there were no links between the man and any terror groups.
Swiss President Doris Leuthard also sent her condolences. "The Las Vegas shooting is heinous. My thoughts go out to the many victims; and I extend my condolences to their relatives and US authorities," she wrote on Twitter.
Swiss guests heard gunfire
The death toll, which includes two police officers, could rise, say police. Thousands of people fled the scene, and many were trampled in the panic. Many casinos locked their doors to keep out potential shooters. Las Vegas, located in Nevada, attracts 3.5 million visitors per year – including Swiss.
“While we were in our hotel room, we heard shots from a machine gun. It went on for at least 20 minutes,” a Swiss tourist named Melanie W. told the commuter newspaper 20 Minutenexternal link. She and her friend were staying in a hotel next to the festival area.
“The police told us to stay in our rooms, put our shoes on and lock the doors,” Melanie said. Another Swiss tourist, Martin A., told 20 Minuten that the streets were nearly empty before he returned to his hotel. “Everybody was very quiet and shocked. We feel safe, but it’s a very strange feeling.”
The shooting began shortly after 10pm, on the last night of the three-day Route 91 Harvest festival featuring country music acts like Jason Aldean, Eric Church and Sam Hunt. The concert venue was in an outdoor area known as Las Vegas Village.
“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” Aldean said in a statement on Instagram. “It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”
Swiss Ambassador to the US Martin Dahinden expressed his condolences via Twitter.
1861 Casa De Elegante Court
Las Vegas, NV 89117
United States of America
Phone: +1 702 885 7947
General hotline for those missing loved ones: +1 866 535 5654
swissinfo.ch and agencies