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As Las Vegas Investigation Continues, Mass Shooting Motive Still Elusive

  • VOA News

People hold candles during a memorial service for Charleston Hartfield, an off-duty Las Vegas police officer who was killed during the Route 91 music festival mass shooting, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 5, 2017.

Las Vegas police say they have found the car they had been looking for as part of the investigation into the deadly mass shooting that gunman Stephen Paddock launched from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel casino, killing at least 58 people and wounding hundreds more as they attended a country music concert.

Police said Thursday they found the Hyundai Tucson while executing a search warrant in Reno at the home Paddock shared with his girlfriend, Marilou Danley. It was not immediately clear, however, if authorities found the vehicle Thursday or earlier in the week.

A GoFundMe account for the victims and the families of the Las Vegas mass shooting has reached about $9.5 million in contributions and will likely grow into the tens of millions of dollars, according to Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak in a report in the Las Vegas Sun.

A photograph hangs from one of the 58 white crosses set up for the victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 5, 2017.
A photograph hangs from one of the 58 white crosses set up for the victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 5, 2017.

The president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said now is not the time to discuss the impact on tourism caused by the mass shooting. Rossi Ralentkotte said, “There’s going to be a time when we go back to promoting Las Vegas as the greatest destination in the world, but that’s not now.” He added, “We need to take care of our customers. We need to take care of the community itself and that’s what we’ll be doing.”

Fans watch day four performances as Charli XCX performs on day four at Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Aug 6, 2017 in Chicago. According to reports, the Las Vegas gunman also reserved rooms in Chicago, overlooking the Lollapalooza festival, but he did not check in.
Fans watch day four performances as Charli XCX performs on day four at Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Aug 6, 2017 in Chicago. According to reports, the Las Vegas gunman also reserved rooms in Chicago, overlooking the Lollapalooza festival, but he did not check in.

Other hotels, other concerts

Days and months before carrying out the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history, Paddock rented hotel rooms overlooking other music festivals in Las Vegas as well as in Chicago, law enforcement authorities said.

Media reports citing law enforcement officials say Paddock reserved two rooms in Chicago in August overlooking the Lollapalooza festival, which draws hundreds of thousands of music fans yearly. Paddock did not check in to the rooms and it is not known whether he was in Chicago that weekend, as first reported by celebrity news website TMZ.

Rooms were also reserved in Paddock’s name in a Las Vegas building that overlooked the Life is Beautiful alternative music festival, held a week before Sunday’s country music festival, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of Clark County said.

Hotel employees at the Mandalay Bay resort said that Paddock had specifically requested an upper-floor room with a view of the Route 91 Harvest music festival.

Authorities are still searching for a motive for the attack.

A photograph of Charleston Hartfield, an off-duty Las Vegas police officer who was killed during the Route 91 music festival mass shooting, is pictured during a memorial service in Las Vegas, Oct. 5, 2017.
A photograph of Charleston Hartfield, an off-duty Las Vegas police officer who was killed during the Route 91 music festival mass shooting, is pictured during a memorial service in Las Vegas, Oct. 5, 2017.

A candlelight vigil for a 34-year-old off-duty Las Vegas police officer who was killed in the deadly rampage was held Thursday evening. Several hundred people, including many fellow officers, attended the memorial for Charleston Hartfield. His widow and the couple's son and daughter heard officer after officer give their remembrances of Hartfield.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodamn told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Hartfield was a “very special, beautiful man” and that his death was a “tragic loss.”

Veronica Hartfield, wife of Las Vegas police officer Charleston Hartfield, and son Ayzayah Hartfield stand during a candlelight memorial for the officer, Oct. 5, 2017, in Las Vegas.
Veronica Hartfield, wife of Las Vegas police officer Charleston Hartfield, and son Ayzayah Hartfield stand during a candlelight memorial for the officer, Oct. 5, 2017, in Las Vegas.

Trump pays tribute

President Donald Trump visited Las Vegas Wednesday to console victims and meet with police and other first responders. Speaking next to first lady Melania Trump, he praised emergency workers and medical staff who responded to Sunday’s massacre.

“What I saw today is just an incredible tribute to professionalism,” Trump said. “It makes you proud to be an American.”

Trump praised first responders, who said they were able to respond so quickly to the attack because of a new emergency program they had trained in and tested for years.

“Our training paid off. It was much bigger than we ever imagined but we were able to handle it,” Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell told reporters Thursday.

This undated photo provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows Marilou Danley. Danley, 62, returned to the United States from the Philippines on Oct. 3, 2017, and was met at Los Angeles International Airport by FBI agents, according to
This undated photo provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows Marilou Danley. Danley, 62, returned to the United States from the Philippines on Oct. 3, 2017, and was met at Los Angeles International Airport by FBI agents, according to

Girlfriend says she had no idea

Sheriff Lombardo said it is crucial to talk to anyone who knew Paddock in the hunt for possible accomplices.

Meanwhile, the number of wounded in the Sunday night massacre has been lowered from more than 500 to 489. Lombardo said some victims were counted twice in the confusion following the shooting.

Wednesday, the lawyer for Paddock’s girlfriend said Danley had no idea Paddock was planning any violence.

“He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen,” Danley said in a statement read by her attorney, Matthew Lombard.

Danley spent much of the day answering questions by FBI agents in Los Angeles, where she arrived from the Philippines. Her attorney said she was in the Philippines to visit family. Paddock sent her $100,000 while she was there, telling her to buy a house.

Investigators found 23 guns inside Paddock’s hotel room and 12 so-called “bump stock” devices that can enable a rifle to fire continuously. The gunman also set up multiple cameras looking out into the hallway outside the room, apparently to monitor the police response.

Lombardo said Paddock fired about 200 rounds of ammunition into the hallway outside his suite, wounding a security guard who had come to investigate. The wounded guard stayed in place to help police despite his injuries.

Another 26 guns were found at two of Paddock’s homes in the state of Nevada.

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