FBI to use billboards in search for motive
Investigators say Vegas gunman may have planned more attacks.
After five days of scouring the life of Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock and chasing hundreds of leads, investigators say they still don’t know what drove him to mass murder, and have announced plans to put up billboards appealing for the public’s help.
Investigators have examined Paddock’s politics, his finances, any possible radicalisation and his social behaviour – typical avenues that have helped to uncover the motive in past shootings.
‘‘We still do not have a clear motive or reason why,’’ Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said yesterday. ‘‘We have looked at literally everything.’’
The FBI announced that billboards would go up around the city asking anyone with information to phone 800-CALL-FBI.
‘‘If you know something, say something,’’ said Aaron Rouse, agent in charge of the Las Vegas FBI office. ‘‘We will not stop until we have the truth.’’
Paddock, a reclusive 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and millionaire real estate investor, rained bullets on the crowd at a country music festival, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds before taking his own life.
McMahill said investigators had reviewed voluminous video from the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino and did not think Paddock had an accomplice in the shooting, but they wanted to know if anyone knew about his plot beforehand.
In previous mass killings or terrorist attacks in the US, the 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,’’ said Erroll Southers, director of homegrown violent extremism studies at the University of Southern California. ‘‘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.’’
A federal official said authorities were looking into the possibility that Paddock had planned additional attacks, including a car bombing.
Another official said investigators believed Paddock may have hired a prostitute in the days before the shooting, and they were interviewing other call girls as they looked for clues to his motive.
The official said a note containing a series of numbers was found on a nightstand in Paddock’s hotel room after the shooting.
The official also said that Paddock had taken at least a dozen cruises out of the US in the last few years, most of them with his girlfriend Marilou Danley. At least one of the cruises was to the Middle East.
Danley said Paddock displayed signs of mental health issues and would moan and scream ‘‘Oh, my God’’ in his sleep, according to two former FBI officials.
Investigators do not believe Paddock’s mental health had deteriorated to a point that it triggered his horrific shooting spree. He had reportedly been prescribed the anti-anxiety medication Valium.
Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo has raised the possibility that Paddock may not have been working alone in executing America’s worst modern-day shooting spree.
MSNBC reported yesterday that a mobile phone charger that did not match Paddock’s phone was found in his Mandalay Bay suite, and it appeared that the keycard for his room was used to open the door when his car had left the casino car park.