I was in Las Vegas last weekend. I walked past Mandalay Bay, where a shooter holed up with an arsenal of machine guns and high-tech equipment while indiscriminately shooting into a crowd of country music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. Today, there are few markers of the tragedy on the strip and the shooter’s motives are still unknown. Information is slowly coming to light about Stephen Paddock, information that could help us heal and prevent something like this from happening again.
According to the New York Times, Paddock spent over a year assembling his arsenal of machine guns which he preloaded with the help of his girlfriend Marilou Danley. In fact, Ms. Danley told the FBI that they would find her fingerprints on bullet casings used during the attack. According to the FBI she is still the “subject of intensive review.”
Investigators also revealed that Mr. Paddock suffered from “unidentified medical conditions.” Ms. Danley reportedly told investigators that Mr. Paddock’s physical and mental health deteriorated prior to the attacks.
Despite his health problems, Paddock took unusually thorough precautions to throw authorities off his track. “Paddock planned the attack meticulously and took many methodical steps to avoid detection of his plot and to thwart the eventual law enforcement investigation that would follow,” the F.B.I. said.
Investigators said he used anonymous communications devices, including a prepaid cellphone, to cover his tracks and employed a “level of sophistication which is commonly found in mass casualty events.”
A search warrant revealed that the FBI found three cell phones in Paddock’s Mandalay Bay room. They have not been able to unlock all of the devices, but have found emails between two accounts Paddock owned describing AR machine guns, bump stocks, and holographic sights which were all used in the attack.
Paddock’s motive is still unkown.