Did Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock have an accomplice?
He was alone while firing in his Mandalay Bay hotel room, but Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who presides over Las Vegas, said on October 4 that authorities have not yet ruled out the possibility that Paddock, 64, might have had help in planning the horrific attack, which killed at least 58 people and injured hundreds more.
“Right now, we’re trying to prove his intent or understand his intent, and the history associated with this and whether or not he has any accomplices,” the sheriff said in an October 4 media briefing. He urged anyone who has information on Paddock to contact authorities.
At another point, Lombardo said “obviously” authorities were still looking into whether Paddock had an accomplice. Is there any other person of interest? “Concrete no,” the sheriff said, adding that authorities were investigating that possibility still.
Look at this. Look at the weapon obtaining, the different amounts of Tannerite available; do you think this was all accomplished on his own? …Face value,” the sheriff said. “You’ve got to make the assumption he had to have some help at some point. And we want to ensure that that’s the answer. Maybe he’s a super guy. Maybe he’s a super hero… not a hero… maybe… he was working all this out on his own, but it would be hard for me to believe that. And here’s the reason why. Put one and one together, put two and two together, another residence in Reno, with several firearms, okay, electronics… large amounts of ammo, a place in Mesquite. We know he had a girlfriend. Do you think this is all self facing, that individuals, without talking to somebody, it was sequestered among themselves? I mean, C’mon folks.
“It’s troublesome that this individual was able to move this amount of gear into a hotel room unassisted. It’s troublesome the amount of stuff he had in both residences, unassisted. There’s people that know this individual. There’s people that can help us understand this individual,” the sheriff said.
Lombardo said authorities want to find anyone who has information that can shed light on Paddock’s motivations and actions, “either by friendship or accomplice.”
Lombardo said authorities have confirmed that Paddock was gambling before the attack but didn’t see anyone with him in video of that.
(Unconfirmed receipts posted to social media and then deleted purported to show a room service order by Paddock for a large amount of food, including two sodas, several days before the shooting, but authorities have not confirmed their accuracy.)
At another point in the press conference, Lombardo said officials are striking out in determining a motive: “He has an ex wife; she didn’t lead us to knowledge. We talked to his brother; no knowledge obtained.” Marilou Danley, Paddock’s girlfriend, who was overseas when the attack occurred, is back in the U.S. and talking to the FBI, he said; her attorney released a statement on October 4 expressing grief for the victims and saying she had no knowledge of the attack, nor did she see any warning signs.
Asked if Danley was still a person of interest, the FBI’s Aaron Rouse said if someone is being cooperative that’s between the FBI and them and said no one was in federal custody. The FBI said they had found no evidence to suggest terrorism but were not closing any doors.
The sheriff said he believes that Paddock was planning an escape from the Mandalay Bay, although he ended up taking his own life in the hotel room.
Lombardo said authorities want to learn “anything that would indicate his trigger point and cause him to do such harm. We haven’t understood it yet.”
He said that the shooting was premeditated and “well thought out.”
Lombardo said authorities “haven’t been able to determine if there’s been anyone else in the room.”
Lombardo also gave the following other highlights in the press conference on October 4:
There were no delays in the investigation due to President Trump’s visit to Las Vegas.
The police department is still evaluating the crime scene, and won’t be returning victims’ property for at least four to five days.
The injury number is now 489, with deaths being 58 (not counting Paddock’s death.) Of that, 317 people have been discharged from the hospital. Previous injury counts were higher because of hospital miscalculation with numbers.
Paddock was “disturbed and dangerous… He was a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and living a secret life. Much of which will never be fully understood. He meticulously planned on the worst domestic attack in United States history.”
He had rented a room at the Ogden Hotel in downtown Las Vegas. “This has been confirmed. The reasons that ran through Paddock’s mind are unknown but it was directly during the same time as Life is Beautiful,” another major music event. Authorities recovered “items” and video from that location. They’re trying to view his actions while there. He rented the room through Airbnb.
Authorities released a timeline of the shooting.
At 10:05 p.m. is the time of the first shots fired. At 10:12 p.m., the first two officers arrived on the 31st floor, and announced gunfire was coming from directly above them. At 10:15 p.m., the last shots were fired by Paddock.
At 10:17, the first two officers arrived on the 32nd floor. At 10:18 p.m., a security guard says he was shot, and he gives the officers the location of Paddock’s room.
10:26-10:30 p.m., eight additional officers arrived, and since they didn’t hear gunfire anymore, they moved systematically down the hallway to evacuate people. 10:55 p.m. Eight officers arrived in the stairwell.
11:20 p.m. The first breach was set off, and they saw Paddock on the ground. 11:27 p.m., the second breach was set off.
It took 75 minutes. The officers on the first strike team reached the 32nd floor in 12 minutes after the first shot being fired, though. By the time they determined his location, the gunfire had stopped.
“No firing was occurring,” at that time, Lombardo said.
As they entered the hallway, they could see a room service cart with cameras that Paddock set up. They saw a locked, closed bedroom door inside the room, but there was no other suspect in it once they got inside.
None of the cameras in Paddock’s room was recording. There were two in the room service cart in the hallway, one in the peephole and a baby monitor camera in the hotel room.
Several rounds had been discharged through the door. You could see a weapon through the openings in the door – the strafing rounds he put through the door in order to shoot at the security guard who was investigating. Paddock was found dead in the room.
The search warrant of the suspect’s vehicle located at the Mandalay Bay unearthed several cases in the car. In addition to ammonia nitrate, authorities recovered 10 one-pound containers of Tannerite, and two 20-pound containers of Tannerite and 1,600 rounds of ammunition, the sheriff said.