Las Vegas shooting: Police search for gunman’s motive

 In U.S.
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Media captionHow the horror unfolded – in two minutes

Police are working to establish the motive behind a mass shooting which left 59 people dead and another 527 injured at a Las Vegas concert.

Gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel towards an open-air music festival on Sunday evening.

Police found 23 guns in his hotel room, as well as firearms and explosives at his Nevada home.

But as yet, no clear reason for the killing has emerged.

Investigators have found no link to international terrorism, despite a claim from so-called Islamic State (IS). Some investigators have suggested Paddock had a history of mental illness, but there is no confirmation of this.

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Paddock had no criminal record and was not known to police.

In his latest comment on the shootings, President Donald Trump said he would be “talking about gun laws as times goes by”.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, he gave no further detail on the gun laws issue.

Mr Trump described the gunman as a “very, very sick individual”.

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What do we know of the gunman?

Stephen Paddock, a former accountant with a big gambling habit, lived in a community of senior citizens in the small town of Mesquite, north-east of Las Vegas.

He reportedly lived with a woman called Marilou Danley who was out of the country in Japan and did not appear to be involved in the shootings, police said.

Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said that when police searched the property after the attack, they found 19 “additional firearms, some explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo, along with some electronic devices we’re evaluating at this point”.

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Paddock family

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Suspected gunman Stephen Paddock – undated image

Officers also found ammonium nitrate in Paddock’s car.

David Famiglietti of the New Frontier Armory told the BBC that Paddock had purchased firearms at his store in North Las Vegas in the spring of this year, meeting all state and federal requirements, including an FBI background check.

However, the shotgun and rifle Paddock bought would not have been “capable of what we’ve seen and heard in the video without modification”, Mr Famiglietti said.

The fast shooting rate audible in recordings of Sunday night’s attack indicates that Paddock may have modified his guns with legal accessories to make them fire at speeds approaching those of automatic weapons.

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Despite the large cache of weapons found in the killer’s home, his brother, Eric, is struggling to accept that he acted in this way.

He said he was “in shock, horrified, completely dumbfounded”.

IS has claimed to be behind the attack, saying Paddock had converted to Islam some months ago.

But the group provided no evidence for this and has made unsubstantiated claims in the past.

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Media captionEric Paddock says he is in total shock after police named his brother, Stephen, as the shooter

The IS claim of responsibility for the Las Vegas attack is very unusual in that the perpetrator’s profile does not fit that of supporters or “soldiers” that the group has claimed in the past, writes Mina al-Lami, who monitors jihadist groups for the BBC.

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