WASHINGTON, October 10, 2017 – The investigation of the shooting rampage in Las Vegas continues. It is a given that a crime scene so massive and with so many different scenarios will be completely covered and no question will go unanswered.
Sheriff Joseph Lombardo is doing a masterful job shepherding the ongoing investigation and dealing with the media. Both he and other investigators have worked countless hours attempting to find out the what and why of what happened.
However, numerous conspiracy theories concerning this tragic episode could obscure the real investigative work and conclusions. What is clear is that in the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in American history, it is imperatives that the answers ultimately provided are clear, concise and honest.
One thing we do know, however, is that we will likely not get all the answers we are seeking. At the end of all the investigations when the media has moved on to the next major story, there will still be questions about how and why this tragedy happened.
According to Sheriff Lombardo, Stephen Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay on September 25, 2017, three days earlier than previously reported. A hotel worker says that a “do not disturb” sign was hung on the door of Paddock’s room for three days, so no housekeepers entered the room during that time.
A question arises, however, stemming from assertions by individuals who work at the Mandalay Bay that Paddock ordered room service on the 27th of September for two people. If that was indeed the case, who was that other person? If it was, as reported, a prostitute, who was that prostitute and what can she tell us?
Perhaps the biggest mystery in this case is how Paddock – an out-of-shape former accountant with no military training – was capable of pulling this mass slaughter off all by himself?
Police found handwritten calculations detailing his elevation and distance from the 20,000 concert-goers below. This shows Paddock spent time mathematically maximizing his firing accuracy so he could kill as many people as possible. Is this a skill that’s easily acquired? Where did Paddock, a former accountant and real estate investor, get the knowledge to figure that out?
As a military veteran experienced in the handling and use of fully automatic weapons, I know the guns Paddock used can be hard to control. In addition, they jam easily and tend to overheat. Using a modified semi-automatic or automatic weapon effectively takes extensive training and experience in the use of such weapons. Where did Paddock get that training and where did he practice so that he would know how to use these weapons?
Without military or known range experience with high-caliber, repeating guns, even with the bumpstock adaptation, could Paddock have fired as rapidly as he did for the length of time the shooting took place?
Given my past military experience, and now, like Paddock, a retired accountant, and senior citizen, I cannot understand how Paddock could have acquired or possessed the skill or the stamina to fire his weapons for so long.
Other questions remain. Why, for example, were all the exits from the music venue blocked? When the firing began, those 22,000 happy concert-goers found themselves trapped, without the ability to get out or to seek cover within the ten-foot walls.
Police have released the following timeline, taking into consideration new information as to when the security officer, previously credited with stopping the carnage, was shot:
9:59 p.m.: Hotel security guard is shot by Paddock on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
10:05 p.m.: First shots fired on music festival. This was seen on closed-circuit television from the concert venue.
10:12 p.m.: First two officers arrive on the 31st floor and announce that the gunfire is coming from directly above them.
10:15 p.m.: The last shots are fired by Paddock.
10:17 p.m.: The first two officers arrive on the 32nd floor.
10:18 p.m.: Security officer tells police he was shot and gives location of the gunman’s room.
10:26-10:30 p.m.: Eight additional officers arrive on the 32nd floor and begin to move down the hallway, clearing every room and looking for any injured people. They no longer hear gunfire.
10:55 p.m.: Eight officers arrive in the stairwell at the opposite end of the hallway nearest to Paddock’s room.
11:20 p.m.: Officers enter the room. They see Paddock on the ground and a second door that could not be accessed from their position.
11:27 p.m.: A second breach is set off, allowing officers to enter the second room. Officers quickly realize there is no one else in the rooms and announce over the radio that the suspect is down.
Living in Southern California, I have been to Las Vegas many times, and I cannot understand how anyone, much less Paddock, can carry so many weapons and ammunition into a room without being seen. Because of his status as a casino “high-roller,” his presence may not have raised suspicions. But did anyone see him bringing in the luggage? Was his transportation into the hotel with those weapons captured on security videos?
And did Paddock have help? Even Trey Gowdy, the no-nonsense U.S. Congressional Representative from South Carolina, is skeptical. In Rep. Gowdy’s words, the amount of premeditation that went into this event questions the belief that a single person could have done this without assistance.
Paddock was found dead in his room due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Law enforcement first stated that he shot himself when they blew the door open to his room. However, new information infers that he may have killed himself when he realized there was no exit from the killing room.
Further, is there a ballistics report on the bullet that killed him? This information would help close out that part of the investigation?
Paddock had no documented criminal history in either federal, state or local law enforcement records. He appears to have had no affiliation with any known activist group, although there have been reports that Antifa literature may have been found in his room. Paddock was not politically active or even religiously affiliated. So how did he acquire the ability to meticulously coordinate an attack such as this?
This final unanswerable question may be how can one person, without formal or military training, be responsible for all this much carnage?