LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas gunman meticulously planned the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, researching SWAT tactics, renting other hotel rooms overlooking outdoor concerts and investigating potential targets in at least four cities, authorities said Friday.
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 casino-hotel, investigators still have not answered the key question: Why did he do it?
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo released a preliminary report on the Oct. 1 attack and said he did not expect criminal charges to be filed against Paddock’s 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, 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.
During an interview with authorities, Paddock’s girlfriend said he 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 an 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.
She described him as “germaphobic” and said he had strong reactions to smells.
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, the sheriff 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. Among his searches was “do police use explosives,” the report said.
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.
Paddock fired more than 1,100 bullets, mostly from two windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, into a crowd of 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival music below, Lombardo has said.
That includes about 200 shots fired through his hotel room door into a hallway where an unarmed hotel security guard was wounded in the leg and a maintenance engineer took cover.
Several bullets hit fuel storage tanks at nearby McCarran International Airport that did not explode. Authorities reported finding about 4,000 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. Dozens of guns were strewn around the room, some left inside a bassinet. Police also found a blue plastic hose with a fan on one end and a snorkel mouthpiece on the other end inside the room.
A federal grand jury is hearing evidence in a case that spun off from the shooting investigation. The FBI has “an ongoing case against an individual of federal interest,” Lombardo said, declining to elaborate.
Spokeswomen for the FBI and federal prosecutors in Las Vegas declined to comment.
Danley was in the Philippines at the time of the shooting. In the days before the attack, Paddock sent her a $100,000 wire transfer. She has said she found that odd and thought he might have been breaking up with her when he sent her the money and told her to use it to buy a home for her family there.
During an interview with the FBI after she returned from the Philippines, Danley volunteered that investigators would find her fingerprints on bullets used during the attack because she would sometimes help Paddock load high-volume ammunition magazines, according to FBI warrant documents.
COUNTDOWN TO MASS MURDER
An 81-page police report made public Friday offers a glimpse at Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock’s internet searches and a timeline of his activities ahead of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
It provides a timeline but doesn’t say what drove Paddock to kill 58 people and injure 851 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1.
Police say they found Paddock shuttled between a rented downtown condominium with a view of one open-air music festival and the casino resort from which he unleashed carnage at a separate Las Vegas Strip concert venue.
Paddock also sent money during the week before the shooting to girlfriend Marilou Danley in the Philippines; switched hotel rooms; rolled more than a dozen suitcases into his Mandalay Bay suite; and bought a rifle and practiced shooting at a gun range near his home in Mesquite, Nevada.
Sept. 17, 2017: Paddock checks into rooms booked through Sept. 28 at The Ogden, a 21-story condominium with a view of the Life is Beautiful venue.
Sept 25: Paddock also checks into the Mandalay Bay resort, a high-rise with a scheduled check-out date of Oct. 2. A hotel employee helps him move five suitcases up the service elevators to his 32nd-floor room before Paddock returns home to Mesquite.
Sept. 26: Paddock in Mesquite completes a $50,000 wire transfer to an account in the Philippines, drives to The Ogden, gambles at the nearby El Cortez casino, goes back to The Ogden and then drives to the Mandalay Bay. A different hotel employee helps him up the service elevator with six suitcases. Paddock spends the evening gambling.
Sept. 27: Paddock tells a hotel host he wants a suite at the end of the hall and a connecting room. He is seen that evening in the valet area with two rolling suitcases. He goes back to The Ogden, and then drives to Mesquite.
Sept. 28: Paddock, in Mesquite, buys a .308 bolt-action rifle, deposits $14,000 into a bank account and wires another $50,000 to the Philippines, visits a Mesquite gun range and drives 90 miles back to the Mandalay Bay. He enters with two suitcases and a computer bag and gambles through the night.
Sept. 29: Paddock checks into the connecting Mandalay Bay room, rented under Danley’s name. He remains in the two rooms while they are cleaned by hotel staff. After 11 p.m., he orders room service.
Sept. 30: Paddock places a “do not disturb” sign on both Mandalay Bay rooms, travels twice to Mesquite, and rolls a total of six suitcases into the rooms. He declines housekeeping service and gambles for a couple of hours before driving home to Mesquite.
Oct. 1: Paddock returns to the Mandalay Bay, gambles for several hours, takes two rolling suitcases and a third bag to his room, moves his vehicle from self-park to valet and orders two room service entrees in Danley’s name.
9:18 p.m.: Security guard Jesus Campos is assigned to check an open door alarm at a room down the hall from Paddock. Campos comes up a stairwell minutes later to find a door to the 32nd floor locked or jammed. He goes back downstairs, uses elevators to return and finds a metal L-bracket bolted into the door and frame.
10:04 p.m.: Campos uses a house phone to call maintenance about the L-bracket.
10:05 p.m.: Paddock fires two gunshots into the concert venue, then begins rapid-fire shooting. Police say bursts of gunfire continue for 11 minutes.
10:06 p.m.: Campos ends the phone call and reports hearing what he thinks is drilling noises; a police officer at the concert venue radios “shots fired … sounded like an automatic firearm;” Paddock fires bullets out the suite door into the hotel hallway. Campos is wounded in the calf, takes refuge in an alcove between rooms and radios his dispatcher that shots are being fired on the 32nd floor.
10:08 p.m.: Police believe Paddock fired eight shots at a jet fuel storage tank at nearby McCarran International Airport. Two struck the tank. No explosion resulted.
10:10 p.m.: Hotel maintenance engineer Stephen Schuck arrives in the hallway, and later reports hearing what he thought was a jackhammer before realizing it is gunfire. Schuck takes cover and radios his dispatcher that shots are being fired down the 32nd floor hallway.
10:16 p.m.: Two Las Vegas police officers and hotel security guards enter the stairwell on the 31st floor. By that time, police say shooting had stopped. Officers form a strike team to clear the 31st floor, including a SWAT officer, a detective and two K9 officers.
10:56 p.m.: The officers come up the stairwell to the 32nd floor. They use explosives to breach the barricaded door with the L-bracket a minute later.
11:26 p.m.: The team of officers breaches the hotel suite door and finds Paddock dead. As they enter, the SWAT officer “negligently” fired a three-round burst of gunfire from his rifle.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Paddock wasn’t hit by police gunfire.
Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said Paddock died of a single gunshot to the mouth.
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