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Las Vegas mass shooting

Las Vegas gunman had escape plan, shot at airport fuel tanks for diversion

It was unclear why Paddock stopped firing at the crowd, suggesting he may have initially planned to escape

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 October, 2017, 6:39pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 October, 2017, 11:19pm

The gunman who killed 58 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history targeted aviation fuel tanks, stocked his car with explosives and had personal protection gear as part of an escape plan, authorities said.

Sheriff Joe Lombardo again expressed frustration with the pace of the investigation, but not with the investigators who have yet to pinpoint the motive behind the gunman’s decision to fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel casino on a Las Vegas Strip concert crowd of 22,000 on October 1.

“It’s because this individual purposely hid his actions leading up to this event, and it is difficult for us to find the answers to those actions,” Lombardo said.

“We believe he decided to take the lives he did and he had a very purposeful plan that he carried out.”

There is still no evidence Stephen Craig Paddock was motivated by ideology, or that there was another gunman, he said. Investigators have found 200 incidents of Paddock moving through the city, and at no time was he with anyone else, Lombardo said.

Lombardo said police and FBI agents, including behavioural profilers, still haven’t found a particular event in Paddock’s life that might have triggered the shooting. The sheriff added that a complete evaluation of Paddock’s mental condition was not yet done. Authorities didn’t find a note in his room, only a paper with numbers, he said.

Investigators believe the numbers represented calculations for more precise shots, according to a law enforcement official who wasn’t authorised to discuss the details of the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The sheriff also confirmed investigators are talking with Paddock’s brother Eric Paddock, who travelled to Las Vegas, and continue to speak with the gunman’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, to get insight.

Lombardo declined to reveal what they’ve said, but he stated: “Every piece of information we get is one more piece of the puzzle”.

The sheriff also changed the timeline of the shooting, explaining that a security guard in the hotel’s hallway responding to a report of an open door heard drilling from Paddock’s room. Paddock, who had installed three cameras to monitor the approach to his suite, opened fire through the door, spraying 200 shots down the hall and wounding the guard, who alerted other security officials.

A few minutes later, Paddock began a 10-minute killing spree.

Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said Monday he could not discuss the results of an autopsy done on Stephen Paddock, who police said shot himself dead before officers arrived at the Las Vegas Strip hotel suite from which he rained gunfire on a concert crowd below.