In­ves­ti­ga­tors ‘hunt­ing down’ mo­tive in Las Ve­gas shoot­ing

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

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?”

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