Police Still Have Not Discovered A Motive For Las Vegas Shooting

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

A day after 59 people were killed and 527 others were wounded at a shooting at a Las Vegas concert, police said they had recovered an arsenal of at least 42 weapons stashed in the gunman’s car, house and hotel room, but had still had not discovered a motive for one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.

The Islamic State extremist group on Monday claimed responsibility for the attack. Providing no evidence, a news agency affiliated with the group quoted an unidentified security source who said Paddock was a “soldier” who had converted to Islam.

Almost immediately, the special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s field office in Las Vegas, Aaron Rouse, said federal authorities had found no such evidence.

Police officers stand by as medical personnel tend to a person on Tropicana Ave. near Las Vegas Boulevard after a mass shooting at a country music festival nearby on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

“We have determined, to this point, no connection to an international terrorist group,” Rouse said.

In the 32nd-floor hotel room at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino where police said gunman Stephen Paddock unleashed a hail of bullets at concertgoers below, officers found 23 firearms, and in his vehicle and home northeast of Las Vegas, more guns, explosives and several thousand rounds of ammunition.

Paddock, 64, had checked into the hotel Thursday, and used more than 10 suitcases to sneak the firearms to his suite, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.

The weapons recovered ranged from .308- to .223-caliber rifles, Lombardo said. Many were military-style rifles equipped with scopes, allowing Paddock to fire on victims more than 500 yards away.

At least one rifle had been modified with a legal “bump stock” style device that allows the shooter to rapidly fire off rounds without actually converting to a fully automatic weapon, a law enforcement source said.

Such devices modify the gun’s stock so that the recoil helps increase the speed with which the shooter can pull the trigger.

Other weapons may have been converted to fully automatic fire, and were still being examined, the source said.

Paddock had four Daniel Defense DDM4 rifles, three FN-15s and other rifles made by Sig Sauer. Paddock apparently bought the guns legally, passing the required background checks.

Police officers swarmed Paddock’s home Monday in a golfing community called Sun City Mesquite, about an hour outside Las Vegas on the Arizona border.

Photo via Associated Press

A search there revealed 19 more firearms, said Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo. Police also found several pounds of Tannerite, a chemical mix used to make explosive targets that are used in shooting practice.

In Paddock’s car, police found ammonium nitrate, another compound that can be used to make explosives.

Investigators are now working to track down all of Paddock’s gun transactions, including some at Nevada gun shows. Records show that he had owned at least 30 guns at one time or another. “He had good-quality, high-powered rifles,” the source said.

At least six of the guns were purchased at one store, a Cabela’s in Verdi, Nev. Several other weapons were purchased at Discount Firearms and Ammo, a few blocks from the Strip in Las Vegas, the source said.

The death toll could rise, Clark County coroner Josh Fudenberg said. The figure does not include Paddock.

Doctors have treated victims for gunshot and shrapnel wounds, but also trample injuries and scrapes from jumping fences trying to escape the gunfire, said Greg Cassell, the chief of the Clark County Fire Department.

“I have worked here for 30 years and I have never seen that many ambulances as I saw,” Cassell said. “Dozens and dozens.”


(Staff writers Mather reported from Las Vegas, Tanfani from Washington and Nelson and Winton from Los Angeles.)


©2017 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.

Read More Show Less
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."

Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read More Show Less

Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."

"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."

First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.

"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."

Read More Show Less

D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.

"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."

Read More Show Less