Authorities investigating the Las Vegas massacre on Monday expressed irritation that after eight days, they have still not determined why a gunman opened fire on concertgoers, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
“I’m frustrated,” Joseph Lombardo, the Las Vegas sheriff, said at a news briefing. “Because this individual purposefully hid his actions leading up to this event and it is difficult for us to find answers for those actions.”
During the briefing, Lombardo offered a key update to the shooting timeline that officials have previously laid out. Lombardo said that the gunman shot a hotel security guard, injuring him minutes before opening fire at concertgoers far below his 32nd floor suite in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
Lombardo had previously said that while he did not know what caused Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old gunman, to stop shooting, he assumed it was due to the security guard’s arrival, hailing the guard as a hero. Police have also warned that information released to the public could change as the investigation continues, and Lombardo said that this is what happened with the timeline involving the guard, Jesus Campos.
Speaking on Monday, Lombardo said Campos was shot at 9:59 p.m., six minutes before the gunman began raining bullets on the country music festival. Campos arrived on the 32nd floor due to an alarm involving an open door, Lombardo said. He said the door was not Paddock’s, but did not elaborate.
Even as the gunman began firing on the crowd below – shooting for 10 minutes – police were not aware that the security guard was shot until they arrived on the hotel’s 32nd floor. Campos alerted security of the situation, Lombardo said, but police hunting for the gunman were not aware of the shots fired at the guard.
The new information comes as investigators are still struggling to explain why Paddock carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Authorities have pulled together a picture of Paddock’s mental state, Lombardo said, but have found no single occurrence in his life that may have set him off.
“We do not believe there is one particular event in the suspect’s life for us to key on,” he said. “We believe he decided to take the lives he did and he had a very purposeful plan that he carried out.”
Investigators are speaking to Paddock’s relatives and to his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who returned to the country after the shooting and was interviewed by the FBI. They are also trying to scour his medical history, Lombardo said, and speak to people who knew him.
But so far, authorities looking to see if anyone may have aided Paddock found no evidence of the gunman having associates in Las Vegas. Lombardo said investigators have discovered more than 200 instances of Paddock traveling through the city over an unspecified period of time, “and he has never been seen with anyone else.”
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Mark Berman