Preliminary report on Las Vegas massacre does not reveal motive
A preliminary report about the October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas does not reveal a motive for gunman Stephen Paddock’s actions, but does shed a little more light on how he planned the attack.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo announced the release Friday, telling reporters that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was “going against normal protocols” by issuing the report, due to the public interest in the case.
It includes an overview of the incident, a sequence of events leading up to the attack, a brief profile of Paddock, his planning of the attack, scene photography, and indicators of intent.
“This report is not going to answer every question or even answer the biggest question, as to why he did what he did,” Lombardo said, referring to Paddock.
Asked about previous comments he made calling Paddock a narcissist and “status-driven,” Lombardo said he was “comfortable” saying those traits could have been factors in Paddock’s decision to carry out the attack.
“I’ve put out in the public space that he had lost a significant amount of his monetary wealth in close proximity to 1 October and that may have a driving factor associated with it.”
The sheriff said it’s still believed Paddock acted alone in the attack, adding that police do not anticipate charges being brought against Marilou Danley, Paddock’s girlfriend. She was questioned in the initial aftermath of the attack.
The FBI does, however, have an ongoing case related to the shooting against an individual of federal interest, Lombardo told reporters.
The report details what Lombardo called Paddock’s “disturbing search history” about SWAT tactics and ballistics. Investigators have also recovered “numerous images of child pornography,” Lombardo said.
Authorities have combed through nearly 2,000 leads and 21,650 hours of video in the inquiry so far, Lombardo said.
In addition to the 58 people Paddock killed, Lombardo said authorities have determined 422 people suffered injuries as a direct result of gunfire, and another 851 individuals suffered other injuries in the attack.
Questions remain months later
Nearly four months after the massacre, the inquiry into the largest mass shooting in modern American history is still mired in questions; chief among them: Why did Paddock do it? But authorities have yet to address many other lingering questions in the case.
Friday’s news conference was Lombardo’s first since October 13, when he altered the department’s timeline of the shooting. Lombardo has spoken about the investigation publicly since then in interviews with various media outlets.
The announcement of the news conference came days after CNN reported that police were potentially pursuing criminal charges against someone other than Paddock, who used high-powered rifles to shoot out of his hotel room window on people attending an outdoor country music festival below. He then killed himself.
Nick Crosby, a lawyer for the city’s police department, told a judge Tuesday that charges could be brought within 60 days. The exchange came during a hearing in which CNN and other media outlets were seeking access to sealed court records about the probe.
Crosby did not identify who could be charged or what charges the individual might face, but he told the judge he had no information the charges pertained to the “actual murders.”
Lombardo appeared to confirm this information at his press conference, saying charges could be brought within the next 60 days.
That development followed another earlier in the month, when hundreds of pages of federal court records, including multiple search warrant affidavits, were unsealed, revealing the inner workings of the early stages of the investigation. The records did not contain information regarding the current status of the investigation.
The affidavits revealed discussions among investigators about email exchanges they believe are related to the shooting.
“Try an AR before u buy. We have huge selection. Located in the las vegas area,” read one message sent to an account investigators believe was controlled by Paddock, the documents state.
Congressman pushes conspiracy theory
On Thursday night, a US congressman told Fox News that “nothing is adding up” in the investigation, before pushing a conspiracy theory without providing evidence to back up his claim.
“Recently, I have been made aware of what I believe to be credible evidence or credible information regarding potential terrorist infiltration through the southern border regarding this incident,” Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania told Tucker Carlson.
Following the attack, multiple ISIS communication channels claimed a “soldier of the Islamic State” carried out the attack, but gave no proof to support the claim. The FBI has said it has found “no connection with an international terrorist group.”
Catherine Lombardo, an attorney for victims of the Las Vegas shooting, also appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“I will ask, with all due respect, congressman, unless you have specific evidence it seems a bit irresponsible to make that allegation or make that assertion,” she said.
“If you do have any evidence of that,” Lombardo continued, “I’m asking you right now to share it with us and tell us what that is.”
“I’m not able,” Perry said, before repeating that he received what he believes to be “credible evidence of a possible terrorist nexus.”
Asked about Perry’s claim on Friday, the Clark County sheriff said, “I’d like to see the evidence.”
By Dakin Andone, Sara Sidner and Carma Hassan, CNN