Police changed the timeline of the Oct. 1 mass shooting at a music festival along the Las Vegas Strip, telling reporters today that a Mandalay Bay security guard inspecting outside Stephen Paddock’s suite was shot six minutes before Paddock opened fire on the crowd below.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo noted that he had warned last week that details could change as the investigation developed. But one constant from the initial stages of the investigation has been authorities’ comments on whether Paddock was believed to have any extremist ties that would have motivated him to carry out the worst mass shooting in American history: the sheriff said officials have still not found links between Paddock and “any known terrorist groups or ideologies.” ISIS claimed four times last week that Paddock was one of their “soldiers.”
As Lombardo said last week, Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos was responding to a silent alarm on the 32nd floor that is triggered in the security office when a guest room door is left open. The ajar door was not Paddock’s, but the sheriff had said it was a lucky coincidence that put the security guard at the shooter’s location.
Today, Lombardo said that when Campos arrived to inspect the alarm he heard drilling in the wall next to Paddock’s barricaded door, possibly an effort by the shooter to create a hole to place a camera or rifle.
Campos was shot through the door at 9:59 p.m. — “prior to [Paddock’s] shooting to the outside world,” Lombardo said.
The sheriff said the wounded 25-year-old security guard, who was hit in the leg, “immediately upon being injured notified security of the situation.” Campos also prevented a maintenance worker who was on the floor “from receiving any injuries,” and guided law enforcement to the shooter.
Paddock was able to fire on the crowd for 10 minutes before officers arrived, engaged the suspect and were able to pry open the door. The shooter committed suicide before officers got in the room. Campos remained with officers, helping them check rooms with his master key until he was ordered to receive treatment.
Campos was not only injured, Lombardo said, “but also extremely shaken up by what happened to him.”
Investigators have reviewed at least 200 instances when Paddock was spotted around Vegas before the shooting, and the sheriff said he’s “never been seen with anyone else.” Paddock was gambling the night before, he confirmed, but police would not disclose the shooter’s immediate actions before the crime.
“We have uncovered no evidence to show there was a second shooter,” Lombardo said, adding later they “do not believe there is one particular event in the suspect’s life to key on” in determining a motive.
Police now say Paddock checked in on Sept. 25. Lombardo said authorities are “trying to confirm” what the shooter was doing between the 25th and 28th, but he was “likely not occupying the room between those days.”
The sheriff also maintained that Paddock appeared to have plans, escape or otherwise, beyond the sniper shooting. Paddock first fired at fuel tanks at the Las Vegas airport, located behind the concert venue, though the jet fuel would not have been ignited by gunfire. The shooter “had personal protection equipment in the room” along with the previously disclosed large amounts of prepared explosives and explosive ingredients in his car at the hotel. “We do not know whether he had additional plans to cause harm outside what happened at Mandalay Bay,” Lombardo said.
Paddock’s brother recently arrived in Vegas, and “we are in contact with him along with other family members,” he noted, as officials are “still speaking” with the shooter’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, about Paddock’s movements, gun purchases and who he came in contact with before the shooting.
In regards to a report that Paddock received a prescription for 50 10-mg Valium tablets June 21, Lombardo confirmed investigators “have found some evidence of medications.”
Paddock described taking Valium for “anxiousness” in a deposition four years earlier after he sued the Cosmopolitan hotel in a slip-and-fall case that he lost.
The shooter bragged of being the “biggest video poker player in the world… nobody played as much and as long as I did,” according to the transcript obtained by CNN. “Each time I push the button, it will range from $100 to $1,350,” he said, telling a lawyer that he could bet “a million dollars” on any given night.
A Vegas prostitute told The Sun newspaper that Paddock “would rant about conspiracy theories, including claiming 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. government.” The 27-year-old told the UK paper that when the 64-year-old gambler “would have a winning streak, we would go back and have really aggressive and violent sex” that included Paddock acting out rape fantasies.