Friday 22 June 2018

Las Vegas police: Paddock planned to survive massacre, and may have had help

Mass murderer also had rented room above another music festival

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo responds to a question during a media briefing at the Las Vegas Metro Police headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 3, 2017. Aaron Rouse, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Las Vegas Division, looks on at right. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo responds to a question during a media briefing at the Las Vegas Metro Police headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 3, 2017. Aaron Rouse, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Las Vegas Division, looks on at right. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

Sean Nolan

Las Vegas police say that there is evidence that the man who killed 59 people and injured more than 500 in the city had planned to escape after his attack and that he may have had some assistance.

At a press briefing last night on the attack by Stephen Paddock, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo was asked "Did you see any evidence that he planned to survive this, or try to escape."

"Yes," Lombardo answered without adding any further detail.

The sheriff also said that Paddock may have had an accomplice, although there was no evidence yet to support this claim.

Stephen Paddock
Stephen Paddock

He said: "Do you think he accomplished all this on his own? You've got to make the assumption he had help at some point. Or maybe he's a superguy who's working this all out on his own."

Sheriff Lombardo also revealed that Paddock had rented a room overlooking another music festival in Las Vegas last week.

Evidence has emerged that he rented a room through Airbnb that overlooked a music festival in Las Vegas called Life is Beautiful which took place the week before the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

 

Meanwhile, Paddock's girlfriend said she had no inkling of the massacre he was plotting when he sent her on a trip abroad to see her family.

Marilou Danley issued the statement after returning from her native Philippines and being questioned for much of the day by FBI agents still trying to figure out what drove Stephen Paddock to kill 58 people at a country music festival from his 32nd-floor hotel suite.

"He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen," Ms Danley said in a statement read by her lawyer outside FBI headquarters in Los Angeles.

Ms Danley, who out of the country for more than two weeks, said she was initially pleased when Paddock wired her money in the Philippines to buy a house for her family, but she later feared it was a way to break up with her.

"It never occurred to me in any whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone," she said.

Ms Danley  (62), who has been called a "person of interest" by investigators, said she knew Paddock as a "kind, caring, quiet man" and hoped they would have a future together.

Danley2.JPG
Marilou Danley, left, during a trip to the Philippines in 2013 with Stephen Paddock, far right, the gunman responsible for 58 deaths in Las Vegas. Credit: Facebook

She said she was devastated by the carnage and she would cooperate with authorities as they struggle to get inside Paddock's mind.

Investigators are busy reconstructing his life, behaviour and the people he encountered in the weeks leading up to the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said. That includes examining his computer and mobile phone.

But as of Wednesday, investigators were unable to come up with a motive for the Sunday night attack that left more than 500 people injured and ended with Paddock killing himself in his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel casino.

"This individual and this attack didn't leave the sort of immediately accessible thumbprints that you find on some mass casualty attacks," Mr McCabe said.

The 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and real estate investor specifically requested an upper-floor room with a view of the music festival, according to a person who has seen hotel records turned over to investigators.

The room, which goes for $590 US dollars (€501), was given to Paddock free because he was a good customer who wagered tens of thousands of dollars each time he visited the casino, the person said.

It was just another indication of how methodically he planned the attack. Authorities have said he brought 23 weapons in 10 suitcases into the room and set up cameras inside and out to watch for police closing in on him.

READ MORE: 'We are defined by our love, our caring and our courage' - Trump visits victims of Las Vegas massacre

But investigators had little to work with in trying to determine what set him off.

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