Las Vegas gunman shot hotel security guard before firing into festival crowd: sheriff

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The gunman who killed 58 people in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history targeted aviation fuel tanks,  stockpiled his car with explosives and had personal protection gear as part of an escape plan, the Clark County sheriff said Monday. 

Sheriff Joe Lombardo also said at a news conference that Stephen Paddock, 64, shot at security guard Jesus Campos, who’d come up to his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel casino, before firing into the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1. 

Officials previously said Paddock had already started shooting at concert-goers when he was diverted by Campos’s  arrival at his 32nd-floor room. 

Lombardo said investigators still have not pinpointed Paddock’s motive. There’s still no evidence Paddock was motivated by ideology, and there’s no evidence there was another shooter, Lombardo said. Investigators have found 200 incidents of Paddock moving through the city, and at no time was he with anyone else, Lombardo said. 

Las Vegas Shooting

A member of the FBI walks among piles of personal items left behind when concertgoers fled the Route 91 Harvest festival amid the shooting. (John Locher/Associated Press)

They haven’t found any one particular event in Paddock’s life that triggered the shooting, he said. They didn’t find any note in his room, only a paper with numbers, he said. 

Lombardo also confirmed investigators are talking with Paddock’s brother Eric Paddock, who travelled to Las Vegas, and continue to speak with the shooter’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, to get insight. 

Lombardo declined to reveal what they’ve said, but stated, “Every piece of information we get is one more piece of the

Eric Paddock declined to say what he was asked, but he said he’s co-operating with investigators, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He declined interview requests from The Associated Press.

Las Vegas Shooting

Eric Paddock, left, pictured here with his brother Stephen, met with FBI investigators over the weekend. (Eric Paddock/Associated Press)

“I’m trying to get them to understand Steve’s mindset,” Eric Paddock told the newspaper. “I don’t want them to chase bad leads.” 

In a newly revealed court document obtained by CNN, Stephen Paddock described himself as a nocturnal creature who bet up to $1 million each night while gambling at Las Vegas casinos in flip-flops and sweatpants, catching sleep in the day. The description of his lifestyle comes from a deposition filed as part of a civil lawsuit he filed against the Cosmopolitan Hotel, where he slipped and fell in 2011. 

Personal effects strewn across grounds

Friends and relatives of the victims and other concert-goers who survived returned Monday to reclaim baby strollers, shoes, phones, backpacks and purses left behind in the panic as they fled. 

The personal effects strewn across the massive grassy concert venue have become sentimental memories of loved ones for some, and haunting reminders of the night of terror for others. 

People left behind thousands of lawn chairs, hats, wallets, souvenirs, cellphones, purses, boots and several other items, Clark County emergency manager John Steinbeck said. 

People are being allowed to come and retrieve their things in groups based on where they were seated, he said. 

Authorities are powering up cellphones and asking people to text their full names to the phones to ensure they are returned to the correct owners.  

Some of the victims have already been returned home and been memorialized at funerals, while many others were en route Monday ahead of services planned for later dates. 

More than 800 people packed into a California church on Saturday to honour the life of Jack Beaton, who died shielding his wife from gunfire. The body of Christopher Roybal, a veteran who served combat during four tours in the Middle East, was set to be flown back to his home in Riverside, Calif., on Monday. 

Autopsy results not yet public

Eric Paddock said he came to Las Vegas to retrieve his brother’s body in hopes of sending the cremated ashes to their 89-year-old mother in Orlando. 

Clark County coroner John Fudenberg said Monday he could not discuss the results of an autopsy done on Stephen Paddock, who police said shot himself dead before officers arrived at the Las Vegas Strip hotel suite from which he rained gunfire on a concert crowd below. 

Las Vegas Shooting

The Las Vegas Strip is pictured on Sunday, a week after the shooting, as some of the casinos got set to dim their marquee signs for about 10 minutes to pay tribute to the victims. (Steve Marcus/Associated Press)

The coroner didn’t say when Paddock’s body would be released to his family or how long it will be before autopsy results are made public. 

Eric Paddock told the Review-Journal that he plans to put his brother’s assets in a trust that would benefit the shooting  victims, he told the newspaper. He has described his brother as a multimillionaire who considered himself a professional gambler and owned real estate. 

The family of one of the victims, 56-year-old John Phippen of Santa Clarita, Calif., has already asked a Nevada judge to appoint a special administrator to take control of the gunman’s assets. The attorneys said that’s a necessary step to allow lawsuits to be brought against Paddock’s estate. 

Late Sunday night, when exactly a week had passed since the shooting, casino marquees and other lights on the Las Vegas Strip went dark for about 10 minutes to pay tribute to the victims who spent that much time under fire. 

Meanwhile, the makeshift SWAT team of police officers who arrived at Paddock’s door at the Mandalay Bay hotel casino described how they got there and the “gun store” they found inside his room in an appearance on the CBS television program 60 Minutes on Sunday night. 

Las Vegas Shooting

A hearse containing shooting victim Christopher Roybal arrives at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Monday for a short flight to Southern California. His friend and employer, David Harman, told The Associated Press that Roybal served in Afghanistan and adopted a friend’s bomb-sniffing dog after the friend was killed by an improvised explosive device. (John Locher/Associated Press)

Officer Dave Newton said they found “so many guns, so many magazines, stacks and stacks of magazines everywhere. Just in suitcases all neatly stacked against pillars, around the room, all stacked up, rifles placed all throughout. All kinds of monitors and electrical equipment he had in there. It just looked like almost a gun store.” 

Also on Sunday, federal investigators returned to do another search of Paddock’s three-bedroom house on a cul-de-sac in a retirement community in Mesquite, Nev. The home was first searched Monday by Las Vegas police, who said they found 19 guns and several pounds of potentially explosive materials at the house that Paddock bought in early 2015.

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