Clues left behind by Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock — including 50 pounds of Tannerite, 1,600 rounds of ammunition and an undisclosed amount of ammonium nitrate left in the gunman’s car at the Mandalay Bay hotel — indicate he may have thought he would survive and escape, authorities said today.
At an evening briefing on the investigation into Sunday night’s massacre, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joseph Lombardo tackled some of the reports and rumors that have been circulating: what looks like a notepad on a table in the leaked crime scene photos “was not a suicide note,” and the stairwell next to Paddock’s suite was not welded shut but it was “secured.”
“We haven’t been able to determine if there was anyone else in that room besides him,” Lombardo said.
On reports that Paddock, a known high-stakes gambler, went on an eight-hour gaming binge at Mandalay Bay sometime before the massacre, the sheriff said that “we are aware he was gambling” but did not have the time pinned down. “We did not see another individual that appeared to be a companion” with Paddock around the hotel, he added. NBC reported earlier today that authorities have been looking for a mystery woman seen with the shooter.
More was also revealed about the actions of security guard Jesus Campos, who discovered the position of the shooter. Lombardo said police were headed up to the floor after a tip from a hotel guest below Paddock, while Campos was separately investigating calls from hotel customers. Paddock had installed cameras outside to monitor who might be coming. He shot at Campos through the door as the security guard tried to enter.
“Well over 200 rounds strafed the hallway,” Lombardo said. Campos, who may have been unarmed, was struck in the leg and is recovering. While wounded, he called dispatch and summoned officers to Paddock’s location. Even though Campos had been shot, he helped officers clear the 32nd floor until he was ordered to go seek treatment.
Paddock stopped shooting at the concert below and focused on the hallway from that point, the sheriff theorized, because he was “afraid he was about to be breached,” and personal concern outweighed “what was occurring down below.”
Lombardo also confirmed that Paddock had rented through Airbnb a unit overlooking the Sept. 22-24 Life is Beautiful pop-rap music festival, which draws bigger crowds than the country music event that was targeted. He said video has been recovered from The Ogden luxury condominium tower and is being reviewed.
More than 100 investigators are combing through the life of the “disturbed and dangerous” shooter, a man who spent “decades acquiring weapons and ammo,” including 33 guns over the past year, “living a secret life much of which will never be fully understood,” the sheriff said.
Paddock’s live-in girlfriend, Marilou Danley, said in a statement through her attorney after arriving in Los Angeles today that he had given her a ticket to the Philippines to visit her family, which she did in mid-September. She said Paddock had wired her $100,000 that he said was for her to buy a home for her family.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said there is no one in custody in connection to the crime, including Danley; he did not disclose details of the FBI’s interviews with her earlier in the day.
“Our resolve is firm — we will get to the bottom of this no matter how long it takes,” vowed Rouse, asking for the public’s patience as they track down leads, knowing “we cannot respond to every little Twitter feed that may indicate a theory.”
“We do not want to taint anyone unfairly,” he said of the Bureau’s caution in releasing information. On continued ISIS claims of involvement: “We have found no evidence to this point to indicate terrorism, but this is an ongoing investigation. We’re going to look at all avenues, not close any.”
Lombardo mused about whether the gunman had help at some point, finding it “troublesome that this individual was able to move this amount of gear into a hotel room unassisted.”
The sheriff said they’re hoping to “find people associated with him by friendship or accomplice” and fill in the gaps of a life that’s “hard to determine what happened” over the past decade; “no knowledge was obtained” from talking to Paddock’s ex-wife and brother about “trigger points that would cause him to commit harm.”
Lombardo suggested that “the concealment of his life, his history was well thought out” like the crime itself.
Citing corrected hospital errors such as double-counting, the sheriff decreased the number of those injured in the mass shooting to 489. Of those, 317 have been released from the hospital.
President Trump visited with first responders, hospital staff and a handful of patients today in Las Vegas, where he called Paddock “a very sick man — he was a very demented person.”
“There might be something there,” Trump said. “But the wires are screwed up, but there might be something there.”