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Las Vegas shooter had plans to escape after massacre, may have had accomplice, sheriff says

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 12:13 PM
By: Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

The shooter in the massacre at a Las Vegas music festival Sunday night planned to escape from the hotel room where he carried out the attack and may have had an accomplice, authorities said at a Wednesday night press conference covered by the major news and cable networks.

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Investigators said Stephen Paddock, 64, meticulously planned the worst attack in modern history, which left 59 people dead, including the gunman, and injured hundreds more at the Route 91 Festival. Investigators also said that those plans included his escape from the sniper nest he created in a suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

A security guard, who pinpointed Paddock’s room as the source of the attack, may have interrupted those plans, authorities said. 

“He was doing everything possible to see how he could escape at this point,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters Wednesday night, but Lombardo did not elaborate on what those plans might have been.

>> Read the latest on the Las Vegas shootings

Investigators also believe Paddock may have had an accomplice. He managed to get 10 large bags filled with what authorities believe was weapons and ammunition into the hotel and up to the room. 

“It’s troublesome that this individual was able to move this amount of gear into a hotel room unassisted. It’s troublesome for the amount of stuff he had at both residences, unassisted. There’s people that know this individual. There’s people that could help us understand this individual,” Lombardo said.

Police know very little about Paddock so far. Lombardo said even FBI profilers are stumped over him. Usually there’s a sign that a person would plan and execute a mass killing like what happened in Las Vegas Sunday, but investigators have not been able to find it. 

“What could be more beneficial than to find people that associated with him, either by friendship or an accomplice?” Lombardo said.

>>Related: Who is Stephen Paddock, the shooter killed in Las Vegas?

The FBI is confident authorities will learn more about both the attack and Paddock, too.

“We will get to the bottom of this, no matter how long it takes,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said.

Paddock may have planned for other attacks, too.

Paddock had rented rooms at the Ogden Hotel in downtown Las Vegas on Sept. 22 through Sept. 24. The reasons for doing so are unknown, Lombardo said, but it happened during the Life is Beautiful alternative music festival.

>> Related: Doctors who treated Pulse victims prepared Las Vegas hospital for mass shooting

“Was it presurveillance? We don’t know, yet,” Lombardo said

He also booked rooms in Chicago in a hotel facing the Lollapalooza music Festival in Grant Park in early August, according to USA Today.

Thousands of music fans attend the festival every year.