Las Vegas shooting: Who is Stephen Paddock?

Police are investigating the shooting, which has left nearly 60 people dead and more than 520 people injured.

Nearly 60 people have been killed and almost 500 others injured during a mass shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas, the famous gambling city in the US state of Nevada. 

What happened? 

  • Police believe 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on a group of more than 22,000 concert-goers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
  • In total, 58 people were killed and 489 others were injured.
  • Paddock killed himself before police were able to enter his hotel room.
  • Police say the attack was premeditated.
  • It is still unclear what Paddock’s motive was. 
  • A cryptic note was found in Paddock’s hotel room, the contents of which have not yet been revealed by authorities. It is not a suicide note but reportedly contains numbers that are being analysed by police.
  • Police found 23 rifles, one handgun and thousands of rounds in Paddock’s hotel room.
  • Paddock reportedly set cameras up in the hotel room from which he shot. 
  • He also used several legal modifications to his weapons that increased accuracy, rate of fire and magazine capacity.
  • In Paddock’s car, police have found substances that could be used to create explosives.
  • A US official said on Tuesday that Paddock had reported at least a dozen gambling transactions of $10,000 or more in the past several weeks. 
  • He said Paddock had transferred $100,000 to the Philippines and investigators are attempting to trace that money.
  • Police are still investigating what the girlfriend of Paddock may have known about the attack. 
  • In an official statement, Danley has claimed she knew nothing of the attack Paddock had planned.
  • Paddock researched several other big open-air events before his attack on the Route 91 Festival.
    Stephen Paddock in an undated photo [Reuters]

Who is Stephen Paddock? 

  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Police named the suspected attacker as Stephen Paddock. 
  • In a statement, police said they found him dead in the hotel room from which they believe he carried out the attack. They also found at least 23 rifles and one handgun.
  • Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo described the assailant as a “lone wolf” and insisted that the police have “the situation under control”.
  • Police have carried out search warrants at two homes owned by Paddock in Nevada. At least 19 firearms were found at Paddock’s home in the city of Mesquite. 
  • In a home in Reno, also owned by Paddock, police found an additional seven firearms.
  • Police also found ammonium nitrate, a substance often used to make improvised explosives.
  • Police are currently trying to establish a motive for the shooting.
  • Paddock’s brother, Eric, told local media on Monday that he couldn’t “even make something up” regarding what Paddock’s motive might be.
  • “No affiliation, no religion, no politics. He never cared about any of that stuff,” Eric Paddock said. “He was a guy who had money. He went on cruises and gambled.”
  • Paddock has no criminal record.
  • His father, according to The Associated Press, was a notorious bank robber who escaped from federal prison in Texas in 1968. He was found a decade later and died in 1998.
  • Police have said they believe Paddock is the sole person responsible for Sunday’s attack, although they are still investigating if he might have had help acquiring the firearms he used.
    Las Vegas Metro Police and medical workers at the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South after a mass shooting [Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus/Reuters] 

Where did it take place? 

  • The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is located on the Las Vegas Strip, an area lined with upscale casinos, hotels and tourist attractions.
  • Paddock fired from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
  • The shooting happened during a country musical performance at the Route 91 Harvest festival. Photos posted on social media show attendees hitting the floor as others fled in panic.
  • The attacker shot at the crowd from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, about 350 metres from the location of the site of the music festival.
  • Over 22,000 people attended the concert, according to the Las Vegas police.
  • Las Vegas is a popular tourist destination for domestic and international travellers. Some figures estimate that an average of more than 40 million tourists visit the city each year, which is an average of more than 109,000 every day.

What are people saying? 

  • Witnesses and concert attendees said the shots came from an elevated position in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
  • Cole Watson, who was at the concert with his wife and kids, said that “at first, it sounded like someone was setting off a whole lot of firecrackers.”
  • Watson said when everyone realised it was gunfire, “everybody started running”.
  • In a televised address, US President Donald Trump called the attack “an act of pure evil”.
  • Trump praised the Las Vegas police and said that their rapid response prevented more deaths.
  • Writing on Instagram, musician Jason Aldean, who was performing at the time of the shooting, described the incident as “beyond horrific” and said, “It hurts my heart.”
  • Days after the shooting took place, people called for restrictions on the legal modifications to effectively turn semi-automatic firearms into automatic firearms.
  • US politicians, gun control activists and even the pro-gun National Rifle Association (NRA) have said that restrictions should be imposed on so-called “bump stocks”, an attachment used by Paddock to increase the rate of fire of the weapons he used.

People attend a candlelight vigil at the University of Las Vegas student union [Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images]

A candlelight vigil was held on the Las Vegas strip following the mass shooting [Chris Wattie/Reuters] 

A candlelight vigil was held on the Las Vegas strip following the mass shooting [Chris Wattie/Reuters] 

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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