Police investigating the mass shooting of concert-goers at a music festival in Las Vegas have said they are not treating the incident as an act of terrorism.
But Nevada law suggests the Sunday night massacre of at least 50 people can be defined as such.
The state’s statute says an “act of terrorism means any act that involves the use or attempted use of sabotage, coercion or violence which is intended to cause great bodily harm or death to the general population”.
However, police, who are early on in their investigation of the shooting that also left at least 200 injured, said it was too early to label the incident as terrorism.
Responding to questions about whether the killing was being treated as terror-related, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said: “No not at this point, we believe it is a local individual, he resides here locally.
“We don’t know what his belief system was at this time.”
Nevada state law separately defines a terrorist as “a person who intentionally commits, causes, aids, furthers or conceals an act of terrorism or attempts to commit, cause, aid, further or conceal an act of terrorism”.
The incident unfolded late on Sunday when a gunman, named as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, fired hundreds of rounds from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino.
The bullets rained down on an outdoor country music festival, with concert-goers reporting hearing what they described as automatic gun fire.
Thousands fled as bursts of gunfire could be heard for more than five minutes.