Las Vegas mass shooting

First glimpse inside Vegas gunman’s hotel room as Trump says he will talk about gun control ‘as time goes by’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 October, 2017, 10:42pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 October, 2017, 5:54am

The motivation for the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history remained a mystery yesterday as investigators began to piece together a profile of the Las Vegas gunman who killed 59 people and wounded more than 500.

Stephen Paddock, 64, was a “demented” and “very, very sick individual”, US President Donald Trump said, as investigators uncovered evidence suggesting he might have been planning something even worse.

The retired accountant, a multimillionaire, hauled more than 10 suitcases packed with up to 23 weapons, accessories and thousands of rounds of ammunition to the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to carry out the massacre.

He was found dead in his room, having apparently killed himself, when a police Swat team stormed in.

Video obtained by ABC news shows Paddock’s room from the hotel hall, with the door broken and covered with police tape.

One rifle is also seen on the floor of the hotel room with a crime scene tag next to it.

A Boston news service tweeted photos from inside the hotel room, showing guns and bullets scattered across the floor.

Authorities believe Paddock acted alone.

He had knocked out two windows to create sniper’s perches to rain torrents of bullets on the crowd of 22,000 some 400 metres away, authorities said.

Las Vegas gunman had devices that make weapons automatic

Two guns were modified to make them fully automatic, according to two US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still unfolding.

At Paddock’s home, authorities found 19 more guns, explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Trump, who campaigned for the presidency as a champion of the American right to bear firearms, was non-commital when asked if he would take action to control guns.

“We’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by,” he said as the US found itself caught up yet again in grief and soul-searching over gun violence.

Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock: millionaire retired accountant, high-stakes gambler, son of ‘psychopathic’ bank robber

Last November, Nevada voters narrowly approved a new gun control law that would have required private sellers to conduct the same criminal background check on buyers that licensed gun dealers already use. But Nevada’s new gun law has never been enforced.

Days before it was slated to go into effect, the state’s Republican attorney general Adam Laxalt released a legal opinion concluding that citizens were “excused from compliance”, calling the new law unenforceable.

Trump has labelled the Sunday night shooting an “act of pure evil” and declared the nation would unite behind the survivors.

His remarks from the White House were the prelude to a two-part test of whether Trump, a leader who excels at political provocation, can also deliver solace.

Trump will travel to Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet the families of the dead, a day after he visits Puerto Rico, where his government’s response to devastating hurricane damage has been criticised.

“Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence,” the president said. “We call upon the bonds that unite us: our faith, our family, and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, and the comfort of our common humanity.”

He offered condolences to the families of those killed, saying: “We cannot fathom their pain. We cannot imagine their loss.”

Trump, who owns a hotel in Las Vegas, told associates that he feels deep ties to the city. He said in public that his visit would be “a very, very sad moment for me ... for everybody no matter where you are, no matter what your thought process.”

The president has received periodic briefings on the shooting while also monitoring the coverage on television.

Additional reporting by The Guardian