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Why Did He Do It? Authorities Still Baffled By Vegas Shooter

Oct 5, 2017
Originally published on October 5, 2017 4:11 pm

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Police and the FBI acknowledge that they are not much closer to a motive in this week's massacre in Las Vegas after the girlfriend of shooter Stephen Paddock said she had little to offer investigators.

Authorities say that Paddock — who sprayed gunfire from his 32nd-floor hotel room on Sunday, killing scores and wounding hundreds — kept to himself and stayed away from social media, leaving virtually none of the usual breadcrumbs that investigators typically rely on in such cases.

The few people who did know Paddock said they had no hint he was capable of such an act, let alone that he was actively planning it.

"There's all kinds of things that surprise us in each one of these events. That's the one in this one, and we are not there yet," FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was quoted by The Associated Press as saying. "We have a lot of work to do."

"This individual and this attack didn't leave the sort of immediately accessible thumbprints that you find on some mass casualty attacks," McCabe said.

Here's the latest update:

-- The death toll from Sunday's shooting has remained the same, 58 victims and the shooter, who took his own life. But the number of wounded and injured has been reduced to 489 from the figure of 527 that authorities gave earlier.

-- As NPR's Lauren Hodges and Doreen McCallister report, Paddock's girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who was visiting family in the Philippines at the time of Sunday's shooting, says through her lawyer that the man she described as a "kind, caring, quiet man" gave her no "warning that something horrible like this was going to happen."

-- Danley said in a statement that while she was in the Philippines, Paddock "wired me money, which he said was for me to buy a house for me and my family. I was grateful, but honestly I was worried at first that the unexpected trip home and then the money was a way of breaking up with me." The AP, quoting unnamed officials, says the amount of the wire transfer was $100,000.

-- A Philippine immigration official quoted by the AP says Danley arrived in Manila on Sept. 15, two weeks before the shootings. Seven days later, she flew to Hong Kong, returning to Manila on the 25th. She remained there until returning to Los Angeles on Tuesday night to be interviewed by investigators.

-- At a news conference Wednesday night, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Jesus Campos, a security guard at the Mandalay who was shot through the door of Paddock's hotel room, sustaining a wound to the leg, was himself unarmed. Lombardo said that Paddock fired "well over 200 rounds" through the door at Campos, who despite his wound was able to direct police to the room. The Las Vegas sheriff said of Campos, "His bravery was amazing."

-- Lombardo said that Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Sept. 28 – three days before the shooting — and specifically requested an upper floor with a view of the Route 91 Harvest music festival – the event that became his target.

-- The week prior to the massacre, Paddock had rented a high-rise condo in a building overlooking the Life is Beautiful alternative music festival, Lombardo said. It wasn't immediately known if Paddock had earlier planned an attack on that venue.

-- As NPR's Laurel Wamsley reports, Chicago's Blackstone Hotel confirmed Thursday that a reservation was made in the name of Stephen Paddock in August during the Lollapalooza concert in Grant Park. The hotel is situated across from the park. The Chicago Police Department said Thursday it is aware of the booking.

-- Jill Snyder, the special agent in charge of the San Francisco field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, says that Paddock has been stockpiling firearms since 1982. However, he went on a buying spree beginning about a year ago, purchasing 33 firearms, most of them rifles, from October 2016 until Sept. 28 — the day he checked into the Mandalay, she says. All but three of those weapons were bought in a single month, October 2016, according to Lombardo. "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," he said, adding that investigators were looking into whether something happened in Paddock's life to set off the gun-buying spree.

-- Lombardo said Paddock must have had help in amassing such a huge arsenal – nearly 50 firearms and explosives components recovered from his hotel room and two properties he owned in Nevada. "You have to make an assumption that he had some help at some point," the sheriff said.

-- Twelve of the rifles recovered were fitted with so-called "bump stocks" that allow semiautomatic firearms to simulate a fully automatic mode, the ATF's Snyder says.

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