It took nine to 11 minutes of gunfire for Stephen Paddock to carry out the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
From his 32nd-floor window at a Las Vegas hotel, Paddock fired a barrage of bullets at 22,000 concertgoers below — an attack that appears to have been meticulously planned.
The gunman checked into the room days in advance, stocked a cache of weapons there and set up cameras inside his hotel suite and in the hallway.
The first call reporting shots fired came at 10:08 p.m. Sunday, and the gunfire didn’t stop until at 10:19 p.m., Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said. The shooting went off and on for nine to 11 minutes, he said.
The massacre left 58 people dead and another 500 people with gunshot wounds or stampede injuries.
No one knows why Paddock decided to spray gunfire on the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest festival.
But authorities are hoping to find answers when Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, is questioned. She returned to the United States Tuesday night from the Philippines and is being accompanied by the FBI in Los Angeles, where Las Vegas police plan to question her, a law enforcement source told CNN.
Police believe Paddock acted alone. But the motive remains a mystery.
“There’s all kinds of things that surprise us on these kinds of events, that’s the one on this one,” FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told CNBC. “This individual … didn’t leave the sort of immediate thumbprints you find on these kinds of attacks.”
The gunman had an arsenal of weapons in his hotel suite, including bump-fire stocks — legal devices that enable a shooter to fire bullets rapidly, similar to an automatic rifle.
Paddock had outfitted 12 of his firearms with the bump stocks, said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The killer also had cameras set up inside and outside the suite. Police dont’ know if the devices were transmitting — the FBI is investigating their use — but the Clark County sheriff said he thinks Paddock might have used them to watch for people approaching his room. One camera looked out the peephole on the suite’s door.
The hail of gunfire stopped when security guards approached Paddock’s room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, McMahill said. Paddock turned his attention to those outside his door and fired, wounding one of them.
The guard was “very heroic” and provided police with information about the shooter’s location, McMahill said. When officers entered the hotel room, they found Paddock dead. Authorities believe he killed himself.
The girlfriend’s return
Danley, the gunman’s girlfriend, entered the Philippines September 15 and again on September 25, traveling on her Australian passport, said Maria Antoinette Mangrobang, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines.
Danley had lived in Mesquite, Nevada, with Paddock. She was out of the country during the shooting, police said.
Mangrobang said authorities in the Philippines have been communicating with the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security.
Paddock had wired $100,000 to the Philippines, a law enforcement source said. But officials haven’t been able to say exactly when the money transfer took place or who was the recipient. The FBI is working with Filipino authorities to determine details.
Assault-style rifles strewn across room
The Daily Mail newspaper in the UK published several photos taken in Paddock’s room after the shooting.
They show semi-automatic assault-style rifles on the floor and on furniture. Stacks of ammunition magazines used in rifles can also be seen. One photo shows Paddock’s legs, splayed on the floor near several weapons, apparently after he killed himself.
Police said they’re investigating the source of the leaked photos.
But those rifles were far from the gunman’s only weapons.
A total of 47 guns have been recovered from three locations: Paddock’s hotel room and his two Nevada homes in Verdi and Mesquite.
The guns were bought in Nevada, Utah, California and Texas, said Jill Snyder, special agent in charge of ATF field division in San Francisco.
Authorities also found thousands of rounds of ammunition in Paddock’s Mesquite home, and an ingredient used in explosives was discovered inside the killer’s car.
Questions about Paddock
The mass shooting has raised questions about the gunman, his intentions and his access to weapons.
Paddock’s violent transformation has mystified everyone — his brother, investigators and the families he victimized. The 64-year-old, retired, twice-divorced accountant — who at one time had jobs at the US Post Office and the IRS, a representative of the Office of Personnel Management told CNN — had no significant criminal history and was previously unknown to police.
The massacre has no known link to overseas terrorism or terror groups, a US official with knowledge of the case said. And authorities say it’s too early to tell whether the killings were an act of domestic terrorism.
“We have to establish what his motivation was first,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.
For an act to be considered terrorism, it must appear that it was intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, or try to influence political change.
President Donald Trump is set to visit Las Vegas on Wednesday. On Tuesday, when asked whether he was open to a discussion on gun control, Trump said, “At some point perhaps that will come. That’s not today.”
By Madison Park and Holly Yan, CNN