Gulfport Music Festival safety concerns after Las Vegas shooting

Gulfport Music Festival safety concerns after Las Vegas shooting
(Photo Source: Alpha Media Biloxi-Gulfport)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Concertgoers can expect greater security measures at the Gulfport Music Festival in the wake of Sunday night's mass shooting in Las Vegas.

At least 59 people are dead after a gunman fired shots into the crowd of an outdoor country music festival. This incident was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. At least 527 others were injured.

Country musician Jason Aldean was performing on stage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the first sounds of gunfire interrupted the show. Police have identified 64-year-old Stephen Paddock as the suspect. Paddock was found dead in his room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Paddock used a hammer-like object to smash the windows from his position on the 32nd floor before opening fire, authorities say.

As Gulfport prepares to hold it's own outdoor festival this weekend, many are reconsidering their attendance in fear of copycat offenders.

"We want to ensure all our concert attendees that their safety and security is a priority," says Ricky Mitchell, vice president and market manager of Alpha Media Biloxi-Gulfport. "Our security team works closely with public law enforcement and has a security plan that includes metal detectors and search teams for all persons entering our event. We are in conversations with Gulfport Police Department in preparation for this weekend's show."

Law enforcement officers across Mississippi are committed to their mission of protecting and serving their communities.

Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher says, "We are constantly funding and providing training so that we will be ready when a crisis occurs."

The Mississippi Office of Homeland Security is one of many agencies that educate officers on effective responses to active shooter situations. To date, more than 450 classes have been conducted and more than 10,000 Mississippi law enforcement officers have gone through the program.

The Gulfport Music Festival takes place this Friday and Saturday at Jones Park in Gulfport.

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