Las Vegas shooting: Paddock may have planned to escape
The gunman behind Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas planned to flee, and he may have had help with planning the massacre, officials suspect.
Stephen Paddock was “living a secret life, much of which would never be fully understood”, Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters.
The gunman’s girlfriend said she had no idea what he was plotting.
Paddock’s motive for killing 58 people in the largest mass shooting in modern US history remains a mystery.
Police found the 64-year-old former accountant dead in a room on the 32nd floor of a hotel after he sprayed bullets on concert-goers below, injuring hundreds.
He apparently turned one of his many guns on himself as police closed in.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Clark County Sheriff Lombardo was asked if he saw evidence that Paddock had planned to escape after the attack.
The sheriff said “yes”. Asked what it was, he said: “I can’t tell you.”
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Sheriff Lombardo was asked by a reporter if he thought Paddock had carried out the attack alone.
“You’ve got to make the assumption he had to have some help at some point,” the sheriff replied.
“Maybe he’s a super guy, maybe he was working out all this on his own, but it would be hard for me to believe that.”
The possibility that Paddock could have had an accomplice is a twist in the investigation.
In the aftermath of the shooting officials described him as “a lone wolf” and said he was “solely responsible for this heinous act”.
The FBI’s Aaron Rouse said no link to terrorism had been found so far, but they would not discard the possibility.
‘What goes on here, stays here’
Rajini Vaidyanathan, BBC News, Las Vegas
As traffic files past on a busy Thursday morning, a large purple billboard, advertising the Route 91 Harvest Festival, can be seen above.
Behind it, the stage with the lighting rig is also in view. The scene of Sunday’s massacre appears almost untouched – as you gaze across the busy highway two broken windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel break up the otherwise smooth gold facade of the building.
It is hard to even imagine how gunfire could have travelled so far – from such a great height and distance – on innocent concertgoers.
The hotel itself has reopened – a queue of people wait to check in at the marble counters, others sit at slot machines doing what people do best here.
Outside on the boulevard, a makeshift memorial is growing in size as people bring candles, flowers and photos, and write messages of love with chalk.
The motto of this city is “What goes on here, stays here” – that mantra rings true now. The tragedy of Sunday night will never be forgotten, but people are resilient, and determined to move on.
Police are investigating whether the mass murderer originally planned to target other music festivals.
Chicago police said they were looking into reports that Paddock booked a hotel room in August overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival in the Illinois city.
Former President Barack Obama’s daughters were among the thousands of revellers.
It has also emerged that a week before his massacre, Paddock booked into a central Las Vegas apartment.