Image from CNET
By Gabby Pardo
On Sunday, October 1, the United States was shaken by the deadliest mass shooting in modern history, leaving 58 people dead and 489 injured. The shooter has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock who set off rapid gunfire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino towards the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival. The shooting occurred while Jason Aldean was performing on stage. By the time police showed up to the room, Stephen Paddock was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The who, what, when, and where of the case are laid out, but the question still remains of “why?”
One of the most frightening factors of the whole crime is that Las Vegas police still have not been successful in finding a motive behind the attack. What the police have uncovered however, is potential alternative attack sites, the weapons behind the attack, and the connecting of the dots with Paddock’s girlfriend.
Vegas Wasn’t the only Target
Numerous sources have confirmed that Paddock scouted out venues in Chicago, Boston and another festival in Vegas. CBS reports that Paddock booked two rooms at the Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel in August that overlooked the popular music festival, Lollapalooza. The rooms, which Paddock never checked into, had a clear view of the festival in Grant Park, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Boston Globe also reported that Paddock researched locations near Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. The shooting could have happened a week earlier as well, due to Paddock booking numerous rooms in The Ogden hotel in Vegas the weekend of September 22-24. These were the dates for another music festival, Life is Beautiful. Police are still missing the “why” even with this evidence, because there is no record of Paddock being in any of these locations.
The Weapons of Choice
Clark County police confirmed that Paddock acted alone, and had 1,600 rounds of ammo in his car. Police also found a bump stock in one rifle, which allows a weapon to be used as an automatic. Records of weaponry showed that Paddock purchased shotguns and a rifle between the months of November and December. Investigators state that this type of activity can be normal, however, Paddock managed to possess 33 weapons in 2016. A total of 47 firearms were in Paddock’s possession and 20 rifles were found the night of the attack – with 12 of them being automatic. Cameras were also set up in the room.
The National Rifle Association is currently taking action in preventing an attack similar to Paddock’s from happening ever again. The NRA on October 5 stated, “The N.R.A. believes that devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” therefore putting more safety guidelines on bump stocks. No one in Paddock’s family nor his significant other knew about the weapons he owned, or even the fatal shooting.
Who is Marilou Danley?
Police may still be missing the why, but they do have a who, being Paddock’s girlfriend Marilou Danley. It is confirmed that Paddock sent Danley to the Philippines to visit her family. Danley claims she had no connection to the shooting. “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,” Danley said in a statement read by her lawyer. There is evidence however showing that Paddock transferred 100,000 dollars to Danley, in order to buy a house for her and her family in the Philippines. Philippine officials of the Philippine Anti-Money Laundering Council declined to comment, but other officials stated that any transfer over 10,000 dollars should be looked into, but that not all of them are.
The Closest “Why” We Can Get
Law enforcement officials have consistently stated that it will take time before they uncover a motive behind history’s deadliest shooting. The police state that uncovering the dark truth will involve deeply searching Paddock’s past. The range of motives being investigated include political, personal, social, and economic, according to former FBI member Andrew Bringuel. One inference includes Stephen Paddock wanting revenge from a gambling encounter (as he was known for being a heavy gambler). In addition, there is currently a claim from The Islamic State that Paddock was a solider for them, but without providing any evidence. The claims and overall motive necessitate still more investigation.