Europe 1 with AFP 07:55, 07 December 2023

A gunman opened fire and killed at least three people on the campus of the University of Las Vegas on Wednesday before being pronounced dead, a tragedy that has sparked a lot of emotion in a city already the victim of one of the worst gun massacres in the United States in 2017.

A man in his 2017s opened fire and killed at least three people on the campus of the University of Las Vegas on Wednesday before being killed by police, a tragedy that has sparked emotion in a city already the victim of one of the worst gun massacres in the United States in <>. "Three of the victims have been confirmed dead," Las Vegas Sheriff Kevin McMahill told reporters. Another person was injured and is in "stable condition", he added.

Motives remain unknown

The shots were reported at midday on the campus of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, located about two kilometers from the famous "strip", a thoroughfare known worldwide for its casinos.

While the identity of the shooter has not yet been officially revealed, the man was a 60-year-old academic whose motives remain unknown at this time, according to CNN and the Los Angeles Times, which cite sources familiar with the matter. He was shot dead very quickly during a confrontation with the police.

"Now we have to try to recover from this"

Students were gathered outside and sharing a meal when the attack happened, and "countless more lives could have been lost" had it not been for the swift action of law enforcement, the sheriff said. Several officers, some of whom were off-duty, intervened "without hesitation within minutes," he said.

The university has cancelled classes and asked all campus members to self-isolate while police evacuate the buildings one by one to ward off any further threats.

The shooting caused panic on the spot. Several students told local media how they sheltered inside the buildings for long minutes. "Now we have to try to recover from this and it's sad," one student told local television station KSNV.

A tragedy reminiscent of the 2017 massacre

"This is a very difficult time," said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, denouncing the banality of gun violence in the United States. This tragedy also reopens the wounds of the massacre suffered in Las Vegas in 2017, one of the worst in the history of the United States.

At the time, a man killed 58 people and injured hundreds when he opened fire on a crowd at a country music concert from the 32nd floor of a hotel overlooking the event. The gunman had committed suicide.

In the United States, there are more individual guns than people

This umpteenth American tragedy adds to the very heavy toll paid by the United States because of the proliferation of firearms on its territory and their ease of access. There are more individual weapons in the country than there are people: one in three adults owns at least one gun and almost one in two adults live in a household with a gun.

The recurrence of gun violence "is not normal, and we can't let it become normal," President Joe Biden said, recalling the Gun Violence Archive's grim record. "This year alone," the organization, referring to the United States, has recorded more than 600 attacks that have injured or killed at least four people, and 40,000 deaths caused by firearms - the majority of them suicides.

The Democratic president once again reiterated his call to ban assault rifles and implement truly systematic background checks on people wishing to buy a firearm. But without a majority in Congress, where the House of Representatives is dominated by Republicans, this remains wishful thinking.

The right to bear arms, a hot topic

Despite the emotion provoked by each shooting, the right to bear arms, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, is a hot topic that deeply divides progressives and conservatives, who defend a maximalist view of it.

While in Las Vegas for an NBA game, basketball superstar LeBron James expressed his weariness with the country's shutdown. "We're always dealing with the same story, the same conversation every time it happens," the Los Angeles Lakers player sighed. "There has been no change, it's ridiculous. It makes no sense to continue to lose innocent lives, on campuses, in schools, in shops, in cinemas, it's ridiculous. It's even become easier to own a gun, it's stupid."