Las Vegas Authorities ‘Making Progress’ But No Motive Yet in Mass Shooting
U.S. President Donald Trump is going to Las Vegas on Wednesday, as investigators there continue to try to figure out why a gunman attacked a music festival from a hotel room high above, killing at least 58 people and then himself.
“We’re going to see some of the folks that are recovering, some of the survivors,” Trump said ahead of the trip. “We’re also meeting with the police, with the sheriff, and we’re going to spend quite a bit of time in Las Vegas.”
The president also described the shooter as a “sick and demented person,” and said that discussion about any new gun regulations is for “a later time.”
Authorities have identified 64-year-old Stephen Paddock as the man who fired shots for between nine and 11 minutes from his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. In addition to those killed, more than 500 people were injured during the attack.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters Tuesday that he “absolutely” believes police will determine the shooter’s motive and that he anticipated a “substantial amount of information” in the next few days.
“We are making progress but I don’t have complete answers yet,” he said.
One potential key to the investigation is Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who Lombardo said was a person of interest in the case.
She was in the Philippines at the time of the attack and flew back to the United States late Tuesday. She was met at Los Angeles International Airport by FBI agents.
Lombardo said what is clear is that the attack late Sunday on the Las Vegas Strip was premeditated.
“The fact that he had the type of weaponry and the amount of weaponry in that room, it was pre-planned extensively and I’m pretty sure he evaluated everything he did in his actions, which is troublesome,” the sheriff said.
Investigators found 23 guns inside the hotel room and 12 so-called “bump stock” devices that can enable a rifle to fire continuously. Paddock also set up multiple cameras looking out into the hallway outside the room, apparently to monitor the police response. Another 26 guns were found at two of Paddock’s homes.
Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said it will still take days to completely process the evidence in the Mandalay Bay room.
“Nobody wants answers to why more than the police and the victims’ families, but we have a responsibility to get it right,” McMahill said.
U.S. security officials also said investigators were examining a $100,000 wire transfer that Paddock made to an account in the Philippines in the days before the shooting.
Paddock’s brother, Eric, is just as baffled as police by his motive. He said the family is “horrified and bewildered.”
He said his brother had plenty of money and had no known political or religious affiliations, no ties with white supremacists, and no history of mental illness.
“We cannot even rule out mental illness or some form of brain damage, although there’s no evidence of that either,” a Homeland Security official said Tuesday.