WHITE HOUSE —
While investigators attempt to unravel the reason for the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history, President Donald Trump went to Las Vegas to console victims and meet with police and other first responders.
Trump, speaking next to first lady Melania Trump, on Wednesday praised the 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.”
He added more praise on Twitter Thursday morning.
"So wonderful to be in Las Vegas yesterday and meet with people, from police to doctors to the victims themselves, who I will never forget!"
Meanwhile, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo said it is crucial to talk to anyone who knew gunman Stephen Paddock in the hunt for possible accomplices.
Considering the number of weapons Paddock collected and explosives he had stockpiled in his car, Lombardo told reporters he finds it hard to believe Paddock could have carried out the massacre on his own.
On Sunday night, Paddock fired into a crowd attending a country music concert across from the Mandalay Bay hotel, killing 58.
Lombardo said Paddock spent decades living what he calls a “secret life” and that concealing his activities all those years was well thought out.
But the sheriff declined to provide any details on what has been uncovered so far about Paddock because he said he does not want to say something that could drive anyone with information underground.
Lombardo said there were signs in Paddock’s hotel room that he planned to escape after his shooting rampage. Paddock shot himself in the mouth as police zeroed in on his room.
Quick reaction by police, hotel security
Describing a timeline of events, Lombardo said it took police and Mandalay Bay hotel security 12 minutes after the first shots were heard to determine they came from the 32nd floor, where Paddock had rented a suite. Lombardo called that reaction time “phenomenal.”
The sheriff also said Paddock had taken a room in another Las Vegas hotel one week earlier while an alternative music festival was in town. But it is unclear what his intent was.
WATCH: Las Vegas Shooting Timeline: Shots Fired Over 10-Minute Period
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.
WATCH: Attorney Reads Danley Statement on Las Vegas Shootings
Earlier Wednesday, the lawyer for Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 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 being questioned 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.
Danley was worried Paddock was breaking up with her, her lawyer said, adding that Danley regarded Paddock as a “caring, quiet man.”
President visits with victims
The president and first lady, at University Medical Center, met with eight families of those who had been wounded and also went to the bedsides of some who had been shot, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
During prepared remarks, in front of police officers and Nevada politicians on a stage at local police headquarters, Trump said, “We cannot be defined by the evil that threatens us,” noting that “Americans defied death and hatred with love and with courage” in selflessly coming to aid of others at peril to their own lives at the concert.
“I thought the president captured the spirit of America at a time we needed to heal,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said to reporters at the White House South Portico after getting off the president’s helicopter Wednesday night. “I thought he did an excellent job and the support that he got throughout to heal our nation and bring us back in a time of need.”
There is currently no evidence to indicate the shooting was terrorism, FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse told reporters in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Gun control debate
The shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, a popular American tourism destination, has reignited a decades-old debate about guns in America. The president when asked at the hospital about gun control replied, “We’re not going to talk about that today.”
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.
Sheriff 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.