The victims just kept coming.
In private cars, in ambulances waiting four or five deep, from the walking wounded to the barely alive, they arrived in droves.
“I have no idea who I operated on,” said Dr. Jay Coates, a trauma surgeon whose hospital took in many of the wounded after a gunman opened fire from a Las Vegas hotel window on a country concert below. “They were coming in so fast, we were taking care of bodies. We were just trying to keep people from dying.”
As Sunday night led to Monday morning, the attack became the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history with 59 killed and 527 wounded.
University Medical Center of Southern Nevada was one of many hospitals that were overflowing.
“Every bed was full,” Coates said. “We had people in the hallways, people outside and more people coming in.”
He said the huge, horrifying wounds on his operating table that told him it wasn’t just the massive numbers that made this shooting different.
“It was very clear that the first patient I took back and operated on that this was a high-powered weapon,” Coates said. “This wasn’t a normal street weapon. This was something that did a lot of damage when it entered the body cavity,” Coates said.
He had seen similar wounds before but “of course never this many patients,” he said.
The gunman, 64-year-old retired accountant Stephen Paddock, killed himself as authorities stormed his hotel room.
He had 23 guns — some with scopes — in the room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino where he had been staying since Thursday. He knocked out two windows to create sniper’s perches he used to rain torrents of bullets on the crowd of 22,000 some 500 yards away, authorities said.
Two guns were modified to make them fully automatic, according to two U.S. officials briefed by law enforcement who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still unfolding.
At Paddock’s home, authorities found 19 more guns, explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition….