Investigators have spent the past week looking at literally everything in trying to pin down a specific motive for why Paddock targeted the music festival before taking his own life last Sunday evening, and still have no clue.
- Deadliest mass shooting modern US history
- Shooter took his own life before police stormed his room
- Retired accountant
- Multi-millionaire real estate investor
- Avid high-stakes gambler
- Father was a convicted bank robber sentenced to 20 years in jail
- No social media footprint
- Planned attack meticulously
- Brought at least 10 suitcases into hotel room over a period of time
- Armed himself with 23 guns
- Modified 12 guns to fire continuously like an automatic weapon
- Bought 1,000 rounds of ammunition
- Another 24 guns and several thousand rounds of ammunition found in two of his homes
- Stockpiled arsenal of high-powered assault rifles over decades
- Calculated distance and trajectory from his window to concertgoers below
- Set up cameras inside and outside his hotel room to look out for police
- 50 pounds of explosives found in his car
Some law enforcement officials believe that Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness when he gunned down 58 people and injured more than 500 others from a high-rise sniper’s nest during a country music festival, ABC News reported on Saturday.
One source told the network that Paddock displayed anti-social traits common to other mass shooters. Others point out that Paddock appeared to have trouble forming meaningful relationships and was seen by some acquaintances as disconnected or standoffish.
It is unusual to have so few hints of a motive five days after a mass shooting. In previous mass killings or terrorist attacks, killers left notes, social media postings and information on a computer – or even phoned the police.
“The lack of a social media footprint is likely intentional,” an expert in violent extremism studies said.
“We’re so used to, in the first 24 to 48 hours, being able to review social media posts. If they don’t leave us a note behind or a manifesto behind, and we’re not seeing that, that’s what’s making this longer.”
What officers have found is that Paddock, 64, planned his attack meticulously.
He requested an upper-floor room overlooking the festival, stockpiled 23 guns, a dozen of them modified to fire continuously like an automatic weapon, and set up cameras inside and outside his room to watch for approaching officers.
Federal law enforcement official earlier said two rifles were outfitted with scopes and set up on tripods in front of two big windows. Another official said that among the weapons were AR-15-style assault rifles. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to divulge details of the investigation.
In a possible sign he was contemplating massacres at other sites, he also booked rooms overlooking the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago in August and the Life Is Beautiful show near the Vegas Strip in late September.
His arsenal also included tracer rounds that can improve a shooter’s firing accuracy in the dark, a law enforcement official told Associated Press. It wasn’t clear whether Paddock fired any of the illuminated bullets during the high-rise massacre.
Paddock bought 1,000 rounds of the .308-caliber and .223-caliber tracer ammunition from a private buyer he met at a Phoenix gun show, a law enforcement official not authorised to comment on the investigation said on condition of anonymity.
Tracer rounds illuminate their path so a gunman can home in on targets at night. But they can also give away the shooter’s position.
Video shot of the pandemonium that erupted when Paddock started strafing the festival showed a muzzle flash from his room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, but bullets weren’t visible in the night sky.
A handwritten note in Paddock’s luxury hotel suite contained calculations pertaining to the distance and trajectory from his 32nd-floor window to the concertgoers he targeted below, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.
Investigators have been combing through evidence left behind and Paddock’s background for any hint as to what led the retired accountant to amass an arsenal of high-powered assault rifles, meticulously map out an attack and open fire on the music festival crowd.
Authorities have no credible information about Paddock’s motive despite more than 1,000 leads and tips, Undersheriff Kevin C McMahill said at a news conference on Friday.
McMahill revealed that 50 pounds of explosives were found in Paddock’s car,
“What we know is that Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and living a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood,” Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a news briefing on Wednesday night.
Lombardo said that Paddock brought at least 10 suitcases into his hotel room over a period of time.
Police recovered nearly 24 firearms, several thousand rounds of ammunition, explosives and “electronic devices” from two Nevada properties Paddock owned.
Paddock and his three brothers were raised by their mother, who told the children their father had died when in fact he was in prison.
His father was convicted in 1961 of committing a series of bank robberies and was sentenced to 20 years in jail. He escaped from La Tuna federal prison in Texas in 1968 and became a used-car dealer and bingo parlour operator in Oregon.
According to Marilou Danley, Paddock’s girlfriend, she had no warning about his plan to carry out the massacre and was as stunned as anyone by what happened.
Earlier report: Oct 2, More Than 50 Killed, 200 Wounded in Las Vegas Shooting