U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Las Vegas on Saturday to express solidarity with the residents and visitors shaken by last Sunday’s mass shooting during a country music concert that left 58 people dead.
Accompanied by his wife, Karen, Pence addressed a crowd gathered to honor the victims of the shooting, the deadliest such event in modern U.S. history.
“We are with you,” Pence told the crowd. “Today, we are all Vegas Strong,” referring to a popular social media phrase. He praised the police officers and emergency officials who rushed “into harm’s way,” he said, “without regard to their personal safety.”
Law enforcement officials say shooter Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old gambler who took his own life after shooting repeatedly into the crowd enjoying the concert, left behind a handwritten note with an assortment of numbers. Authorities say the numbers are calculations determining the distance and trajectory between his 32nd floor hotel room and the crowd below.
Federal agents have begun removing from the scene the personal belongings concert-goers left behind when they fled from the bullets spraying into the crowd last Sunday. Among the items were backpacks, purses, baby strollers and lawn chairs, piled high Saturday as agents loaded them into a truck.
Officials say they will begin returning those items to their owners next week.
And investigators continue to explore the possible motives Paddock might have had. Between the gunfire and the struggle to flee the area, nearly 500 hundred people were injured Sunday in addition to the 58 who were killed.
Investigators have found that Paddock planned his attack meticulously, choosing carefully his hotel room and modifying a dozen guns to enable them to fire rapidly, like an automatic weapon. He also apparently set up cameras inside and outside his hotel room to watch for approaching security officers.
In recent days, experts have found that Paddock had also booked hotel rooms overlooking other big, outdoor concerts, including Lollapalooza in Chicago in August and the Life is Beautiful show in Las Vegas in late September.