Investigators are trying to figure out what prompted the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Their search for a motive is turning up chilling evidence that the gunman may have been considering attacks at other outdoor concerts.
CGTN’s Jim Spellman has details.
Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock rented at least two other properties with views of music festivals in the weeks before his attack- one in Chicago, another in Las Vegas. Police don’t know if these were dry runs for his rampage Sunday.
“Paddock rented a room at the Ogden Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, this has been confirmed,” said Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo. “The reasons that ran through Paddock’s mind is unknown”
The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that during his shooting spree Paddock fired some shots from the Mandalay Bay hotel towards large jet fuel tanks at nearby McCarran airport, hitting the tanks with at least some shots.
During the rampage Paddock used what is known as a “Bump Stock”, similar this, on some of his rifles.
“It’s an accessory that is perfectly legal that allows you to rapid fire a semi-automatic weapon,” said Art Netherton, manager of Briarhawk Firearms and Ammunition. “So it’s a replacement stock on a rifle.”
There are now calls from Democratic and some Republicans to ban bump stocks. Even the powerful National Rifle Association, who generally oppose gun control measures, released a statement, saying in part:
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
The White House has not yet taken a stance on a ban.
“We know that members of both parties and multiple organizations are planning to take a look at bump stocks and related devices,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, at the daily briefing. “We certainly welcome that. We’d like to be part of that conversation.”
Meanwhile, investigators have questioned Paddock’s girlfriend, who was in the Philippines at the time of the shooting. She says she saw no indication Paddock was planning his attack.
“What we know is Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo, and living a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood,” said Lombardo.
Police say explosives were found in Paddock’s car, and they believe he made plans to escape the scene of the shooting. Authorities are still investigating whether Paddock was assisted by anyone during the planning of the worst shooting in modern US history.