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LAS VEGAS SHOOTING: Investigators uncover motive behind shooting rampage

LAS VEGAS — Investigators have uncovered motive behind Sunday’s shooting rampage in Las Vegas in a suicide note found in the attacker’s garage this afternoon. There were chilling but baffling array of clues in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history as they sought to determine the chain of events that caused a 64-year-old to gun down concertgoers from his hotel suite overlooking the Las Vegas Strip.

Joseph Lombardo, the sheriff of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, on Monday said “It was difficult to get into the mind of a psychopath”.

At the same time, the probes stretched from a ranch-style home near the Arizona border to the 32nd-floor hotel suite used by Stephen Paddock as a place to scan the crowds at a country music festival and then open fire — leaving at least 59 people dead and hundreds more injured in the rain of bullets or trampled in the panicked rush for cover late Sunday. He then killed himself as SWAT officers closed in.

Once again, a stunned nation was left to grapple with a city riven by tragedy and a resurgent debate over gun control and gun violence. The White House and many Republicans said it was a time to mourn rather than launch into political battles, while some Democrats renewed calls for gun safety legislation.

In a note which is yet to be released to the public, it is alleged Paddock wanted to prove to America public security was at all-time low and if it remained the same, countries like North Korea could threaten safety of millions of Americans.

Lombardo warned that the number of dead in Las Vegas could rise, as an additional 527 were thought to have been injured. Hospitals across the region continued to treat patients from the scene, many of them seriously injured. Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center said that as of Tuesday morning, it had 68 patients from the rampage, 33 of them in critical condition.

While the nation learned more about the lives cut brutally short as well as the heroic actions of people on the ground, few answers were available as to what, if anything, may have motivated the rampage.

Authorities described a level of preparation that suggested the massacre was planned in advance. Police said Paddock arrived on Thursday, three days before the shooting, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip. He took more than 10 suitcases into his suite, officials said.

Paddock aroused no suspicion from hotel staff even as he brought in 23 guns, some of them with scopes. One of the weapons he apparently used in the attack was an AK-47 type rifle, with a stand used to steady it for firing, people familiar with the case said.

Officials recovered another 19 guns as well as thousands of rounds of ammunition and the chemical tannerite, an explosive, at Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nev. They also found ammonium nitrate, a chemical that can be used in bombmaking, in Paddock’s vehicle, Lombardo said.

Paddock apparently used remote video cameras linked to a tablet in order to keep an eye out for police storming his hotel room, according to two people close to the investigation, who asked not to be identified discussing the ongoing probe.

The idea was apparently to be able to have a security perimeter behind him while he fired down on the crowd – another indication of the planning and forethought Paddock put into the attack. Such a setup would have made it easier for Paddock to know when he was close to being captured.

When police breached his hotel room door and stormed inside, they found him already dead, with blood spread out behind him, mixed in with the empty shell casings on the carpet. He had apparently pointed a silver, black-handled revolver into his mouth and pulled the trigger.

Before that, police and hotel security had scoured several floors of the hotel looking for the shooter and came upon Paddock’s suite, Lombardo said. At some point, Paddock fired through the door and hit a security guard in the leg, he said, adding that the guard is expected to survive.


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