On Sunday, October 1, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history took place. A gunman opened fire on a crowd of over 20,000 people who were attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.
64-year-old Stephen Paddock began shooting from his 32nd-floor balcony at the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel. The death toll continues to rise, but so far there have been at least 58 deaths and at least 500 more injuries.
By the time SWAT team got to the shooter, he had reportedly shot and killed himself. Now, investigations concerning the shooter's motive are underway.
Thus far, police believe that Paddock acted alone. They had originally detained his roommate and companion as a "person of interest," but they no longer believe that she was an accomplice.
As police are attempting to find out Paddock's motives, there have been several updates to the case. While the intention is still unclear, there are leads that may provide insight. Below are the latest developments in the story, provided by CNN and the Washington Post.
Level of Preparation
Authorities believe that this was a planned attack, with a high level of preparation involved. Paddock arrived at the Mandalay Bay hotel on Thursday, with more than 10 suitcases in tow. Even with the number of suitcases, the hotel staff did not suspect anything. Among his possessions was a rifle stand, used to stabilize his AK-47 type rifle for firing.
Information on Weapons
Police recovered 23 weapons from his suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel. Among these were handguns, rifles, a scope, and a stand. In his car, authorities found several pounds of ammonium nitrate, which is commonly used to make explosives. At his home in Mesquite, Nevada, police found an additional 19 firearms, along with explosives and several thousand rounds of ammunition. All of the weapons seemed to have been obtained legally. Some said that at least one of the guns sounded like an automatic. Now, police are wondering how Paddock would have obtained such a weapon. They are determining whether the shooter modified a gun to be able to move at such a high volume.
Paddock's father was a bank robber in the 1960s and was on the FBI's most wanted list. Stephen's brother, Eric Paddock, said that they were not close with their father. Eric also said that Stephen did not speak to his brother or 91-year-old mother often. He said that he did not believe this case was religiously or politically motivated, and that the gunman must have just snapped. Stephen was reportedly dating 62-year-old Marilou Danley, who was out of the country when the attack took place.
Joseph Lombardo, the sheriff of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said that Paddock was alive when he first encountered a group of police. When several officers came across Paddock's suite, he fired through the door and hit one of them on the leg. Eventually, the SWAT team busted through the door and immediately began firing. They still believe that Paddock shot and killed himself first, however.
While the updates have not given investigators an accurate idea of Paddock's motives, they have helped in the progression of the case. Because police are unsure if this attack was politically motivated or for the intention of intimidation or coercion, they cannot deem it a terrorist attack. Regarding Paddock's mindset when purchasing the weapons, Lombardo said that he "never gave any indication or reason to believe he was unstable or unfit at any time." Questions are now stirring about when Paddock decided to attack, what his motives were, and if he really was acting alone.
New Update at 1:00 p.m. ET:
The Hill just reported that the shooter allegedly wired $100,000 to the Philippines a week before the incident. His girlfriend who is from the Philippines was visiting her home country when the Las Vegas attack occurred. When we find out more information on this, we will report it here.
Please continue praying for all of the victims in this terrible situation. We need unity in this country now more than ever. For more on this story and for a glimmer of hope, read our latest article about a Vegas massacre survivor and former agnostic who turned to God during the shooting.