Investigators ‘hunting down’ motive in Las Vegas shooting
LAS VEGAS Investigators were trying to determine the motive for a wealthy, retired accountant’s heinous shooting rampage while the city and nation struggled Tuesday to heal from the most deadly mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
President Donald Trump, as he left Washington for a trip to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, briefly referenced Stephen Paddock, whose carnage Sunday night left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured.
“He was a sick man, a demented man with a lot of problems, I guess, and we are looking into him very, very seriously,” Trump said. “We are dealing with a very, very sick individual.”
The president also said the administration would be “talking about gun laws as time goes by,” and he lauded the efforts of Las Vegas law enforcement.
“How quickly the Police Department was able to get in (to Paddock’s hotel room) was very much a miracle,” he said. “They’ve done an amazing job.”
Country music star Jason Aldean was performing when Paddock opened fire from the window of his 32nd-floor hotel room overlooking the Route 91 Harvest music festival. Aldean, who was not injured, tweeted a statement Tuesday saying he has been overwhelmed with emotion since the attack.
“Something has changed in this country and in this world lately that is scary to see,” Aldean wrote. But he also added that it is “time to come together and stop the hate.”
Stories of heroism continued to emerge. One minute, Marine Corps veteran Taylor Winston was dancing the two-step at the concert, the next he was commandeering a pickup and shut- tling the wounded to hospitals before ambulances arrived. Dawn-Marie Gray, a concertgoer who happened to have seven years experience as a paramedic, found herself providing CPR and tying tourniquets.
Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo pleaded for patience during the investigation, saying authorities were “hunting down” every clue to learn more about Paddock.
Several minutes after the carnage began, officers who broke into the room found Paddock’s body. His brother, Eric, who lives in Florida, said his multimillionaire brother was a big spender at casinos and often received free meals and rooms there.
Police found 23 guns, including semiautomatic rifles, in Paddock’s room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. They found 19 more at his home in Mesquite, Nevada, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
A federal law enforcement official, who was briefed on the matter but not authorized to comment publicly, said police also found two tripods positioned at the hotel windows in what appeared to be a fully equipped sniper’s nest.
Some of the weapons apparently were modified with technology known as a “bump-stock” for rapid, machine-gun-type firing, two people familiar with the matter said. The modification is legal but has drawn scrutiny because it allows gun owners to avoid special permits and fingerprinting required for machine guns.
Pieces of normalcy slowly returned to the iconic Strip.
Herman Gold and his exwife, Sara, stood near the concert grounds and explained how they escaped the hail of bullets and why they came back.
“I just want closure,” Herman Gold said. “Why? What’s the reason that on that particular night, one individual would sacrifice everyone else for his insanity?”