Sunday Star-Times

Massacre motive mystery to police

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The Las Vegas gunman meticulous­ly planned the worst mass shooting in modern US history, researchin­g SWAT tactics, renting other hotel rooms overlookin­g outdoor concerts and investigat­ing potential targets in at least four cities, authoritie­s say.

But almost four months after Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded more than 800 others with a barrage of bullets from the Mandalay Bay casinohote­l, investigat­ors still have not answered the key question: Why did he do it?

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo yesterday released a preliminar­y report on the October 1 attack and said he did not expect criminal charges to be filed against Paddock’s Filipina-Australian girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who had been called the only person of interest in the case.

Investigat­ors believe Paddock acted alone, and he did not leave a suicide note or manifesto.

Paddock fired more than 1100 bullets, mostly from two windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay into a crowd of 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival music below. About 200 shots were fired through his hotel room door into a hallway, where an unarmed hotel security guard was wounded in the leg.

Paddock, who killed himself before police reached him, told friends and relatives that he always felt ill, in pain and fatigued, authoritie­s said.

His doctor thought he may have had bipolar disorder but told police that Paddock refused to discuss the possibilit­y, the report said. The doctor offered him antidepres­sants, but Paddock accepted only a prescripti­on for anxiety medication. He was fearful of medication and often refused to take it, the doctor told investigat­ors.

Danley told authoritie­s Paddock had become ‘‘distant’’ in the year before the shooting, and their relationsh­ip was no longer intimate.

When they stayed at the Mandalay Bay together in September 2017, Paddock acted strangely, she told investigat­ors. She remembered him constantly looking out the windows overlookin­g the area where the concert would be held the next month. He moved from window to window to see the site from different angles, the report said.

The 64-year-old retired accountant was a high-stakes gambler and real estate investor. He had lost a ‘‘significan­t amount of wealth’’ since September 2015, which led to ‘‘bouts of depression’’, the sheriff has said. But Paddock had paid off his gambling debts before the shooting, according to the report.

Prior to the attack, Paddock’s online searches included research into SWAT tactics and considerat­ion of other potential public targets, including in Chicago, Boston and Santa Monica, California, Lombardo said. His research also sought the number of attendees at other concerts in Las Vegas, and the size of the crowds at Santa Monica’s beach.

Four laptops and three cellphones were found inside his hotel suite. On one of the computers, investigat­ors found hundreds of photos of child pornograph­y.

The same computer was used to search for the height of the Mandalay Bay, how to remove hard drives from laptops, the location of gun shows in Nevada, and informatio­n about several other Las Vegas casinos.

Paddock’s brother, Daniel Paddock, was arrested in Los Angeles in October in an unrelated child pornograph­y investigat­ion. He has pleaded not guilty.

Authoritie­s have said they found no link between the attack and internatio­nal terrorism.

Authoritie­s reported finding about 4000 unused bullets in Paddock’s two-room suite, including incendiary rounds that Lombardo said were not used. Investigat­ors found 23 guns in the rooms, including 12 rifles fitted with ‘‘bump stock’’ devices that allowed rapid-fire shooting similar to fully automatic weapons.

 ??  ?? Gunman Stephen Paddock’s girlfriend says he became ‘‘distant’’ and acted strangely in the year leading up to the Las Vegas shooting.
Gunman Stephen Paddock’s girlfriend says he became ‘‘distant’’ and acted strangely in the year leading up to the Las Vegas shooting.

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