Las Vegas police, while saying they’re still stumped on the motive behind Sunday night’s massacre at a country music festival, said today that they haven’t found any evidence to indicate Stephen Paddock had political or “radical ideologies” that motivated the attack.
Undersheriff Kevin McMahill told CNN this evening that authorities also haven’t determined what Paddock intended to do with his explosives-stocked car at the Mandalay Bay hotel, which included 1,600 rounds of ammunition as well as ready-to-use tannerite and two mixer chemicals, ammonium nitrate and aluminum chloride.
“I don’t know what he was doing with it,” McMahill said, noting there’s “no evidence that material in the vehicle was going to be used as an IED. It’s one of the mysteries of this attack.”
“I believe he certainly had nefarious intent with that material; I don’t know what that intent was.”
McMahill said he was “very confident, very certain that there was not another shooter in the room as he conducted this mass murder rampage.” Before this statement, NBC News reported that investigators found a cell phone charger in the room not matching any of Paddock’s phones. Investigators also reportedly determined that one of Paddock’s card keys was used to access his room during a period when Paddock’s car had left the hotel garage.
Asked if Paddock had help planning the attack, the undersheriff said that’s why investigators are “combing over this man’s life from birth to death.”
“It’s hard to believe that one individual planned this attack and executed without anybody else knowing anything about it,” McMahill said.
Investigators are also trying “to understand, to evaluate whether he had any political, any economic, any social, any radical ideologies that may have led him down a particular path,” he said. ISIS has repeatedly claimed this week that Paddock conducted the attack on their behalf.
“What I can confirm to you today is we have found no evidence of any of that as I’m standing before you today,” the undersheriff added.
McMahill said Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, “continues to cooperate with the FBI” but he wouldn’t say if the information she has been providing has been helpful. “I’m aware of the interactions the FBI has had, but not prepared to discuss with you any of the information we’ve obtained,” he said.
After confirmation that Paddock rented an Airbnb overlooking the Life is Beautiful pop-rap festival in Vegas the week before the Route 91 Harvest Festival, reports surfaced that the gunman also booked a room overlooking the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago in August, insisting with the manager that he had to have a view room because he and his wife had met at the festival and were celebrating their anniversary. He ended up no-showing the reservation. Paddock also reportedly searched for hotels around Boston’s Fenway Park.
“We’re aware that he had searched for a number of music venues across the country,” McMahill said, adding authorities are trying find out why Paddock “chose this particular venue to execute his plan.”
It was revealed that Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos was checking a door alarm on the 32nd floor when he discovered Paddock’s location during the shooting. The door alert is automatically sent to the security office when a guest room door is left ajar, and Campos was dispatched up to check it. He was shot in the leg when Paddock spotted the guard on camera and fired more than 200 bullets through the door into the hallway.
“If it was a coincidence, it certainly was a lucky coincidence for us,” McMahill said, clarifying the ajar alarm was triggered by a door to which Paddock didn’t have a key. “I don’t believe the killer left that door open.”
Campos’ actions “led the police to that location and allowed us to neutralize the suspect more quickly.”
“His bravery was amazing … because he remained with our officers providing the key pass to access to the door and actually clear rooms. His officers demanded he seek medical attention,” Sheriff Joe Lombardo said of the 25-year-old security guard.
McMahill said Paddock made multiple trips to room over days to move the guns and ammo he used in the attack. In the “very painstaking, difficult process” of combing through casino video, “we didn’t see anything to cause us concern that another individual may have been with him at that time.”
On motive, the undersheriff expressed optimism that they’d eventually find an answer — “we just haven’t got there yet.”
“He obviously had a plan and he was committed to a plan … he knew what he was going to do.”
Paddock, a high-stakes gambler who had amassed wealth through real-estate investments, took 20 cruises over the years that stopped in ports in Europe and the Middle East. Police said he did not leave a suicide note, but they did find a note containing only numbers.