Sheriff: Paddock Had 'Secret Life,' Escape Plan

Source says he also targeted jet fuel tanks
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2017 4:40 AM CDT
Updated Oct 5, 2017 6:07 AM CDT
Cops Think Vegas Shooter Planned to Escape
Agents from the FBI continue to process evidence at the scene of a mass shooting on Wednesday in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Stephen Paddock planned to make a getaway after massacring scores of people at a Las Vegas outdoor concert, police say. Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters Wednesday night that the gunman, who killed himself as police closed in, appears to have had an escape plan, though he didn't elaborate, the New York Daily News reports. Lombardo also told reporters that he found it hard to believe that Paddock didn't have some kind of help. "Maybe he's a super guy," he said, sarcastically, per the AP. "You know, a super yay-hoo [who] was working out all this on his own. But it would be hard for me to believe that." In other developments:

  • Lombardo said Paddock was a "disturbed and dangerous" man who apparently lived a "secret life" over the last decade, the Las Vegas Sun reports. He said the secrecy was making it difficult to determine a motive for the shooting.

  • Lombardo told reporters that Paddock had been gambling just hours before he carried out the mass shooting, the BBC reports. He said that according to the latest casualty figures, Paddock killed 58 people and injured at least 489.
  • The chief of the FBI's Las Vegas division addressed reporters after Lombardo and seemed to rebuke him for saying he was sure others were involved, the Guardian reports. "Theories are great and everyone can have a theory," said Aaron Rouse. "But I need to deal with facts. The sheriff needs to deal with facts."
  • The New York Times has done a fact check on rumors that more than one shooter was involved.
  • Paddock was not among the highest rollers in Las Vegas, but he was well known in the city's casinos and was rewarded for his loyalty with perks like free hotel rooms, including the Mandalay Bay suite he carried out his shooting rampage from, the New York Times reports.
  • Police have also confirmed that the weekend before the mass shooting, Paddock rented a room through Airbnb at Las Vegas' Ogden hotel, which overlooked the Life Is Beautiful alternative music festival.
  • Paddock apparently targeted jet fuel tanks as well as the Route 91 Harvest music fest, sources tell the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He fired at tanks on airport property around 1,100 feet away from his hotel room and penetrated at least one with a bullet, the sources say. Analysts, however, say jet fuel isn't so easy to ignite. "A machine gun is not going to blow up a tank of fuel," says an aviation analyst. "Jet fuel itself sitting there in a big wet pile is very hard to ignite. You have to be a very amateur terrorist to think anything like that."
(Marilou Danley, Paddock's girlfriend, issued her first public statement Wednesday.)

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