Suspect stockpiled weapons but was ‘not a gun guy’
The suspect in the Las Vegas shooting that has left at least 59 people dead had amassed an arsenal that included more than 40 firearms, police said on Monday night, as officials declared a state of emergency for the county encompassing the Las Vegas strip.
Authorities found 23 guns, including a handgun, in the hotel room of the gunman, identified earlier by police as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. Some were equipped with scopes, devices that help the shooter identify targets at a range, police said.
They also recovered 19 firearms plus explosives and several thousand rounds of ammunition from Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nevada, a town near the border with Arizona, Joe Lombardo, the Las Vegas metropolitan police department sheriff, told reporters. He also said police found “electronic devices”.
Additionally, several pounds of ammonium nitrate, a material used to make explosives, were also found in Paddock’s car. Later on Monday, a Swat team searched a residence in northern Nevada that is believed to be associated with the gunman.
At an afternoon news conference, officials also updated the latest casualty figures, saying that in addition to the number of dead, 527 more had been injured after a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel on the thousands of concertgoers attending the Route 91 country music festival last Sunday night.
Islamic State claimed the gunman was “a Soldier of the Islamic State”, but authorities said there is no evidence to substantiate that claim. Lombardo said Paddock appeared “reclusive” but cautioned that authorities were still combing through his background. Police wanted to meet Marilou Danley, described as Paddock’s girlfriend, when she returned from Tokyo.
A sibling of the suspect living in Florida, Eric Paddock, told CBS he was “dumbfounded”. He was “not an avid gun guy at all”, the brother said.