The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) preliminary report on the Oct. 1 shooting that killed 58 at a Vegas open-air concert is long on evidentiary details, but the “why” remains a mystery. Released Jan 19, the report details the events of Oct. 1, provides some background on shooter Stephen Paddock, and irons out early discrepancies regarding timelines and responses by law enforcement.
According to officials, Stephen Paddock acted alone. “Thousands of hours of digital media were reviewed, and after all the interviews conducted, no evidence exists to indicate Paddock conspired with or acted in collusion with anybody else,” the report said. “There was no evidence of radicalization or ideology to support any theory that Paddock supported or followed any hate groups or any domestic or foreign terrorist organizations.”
The report also notes that aside from traffic citations over the years, Paddock had no criminal record and he purchased all of his weapons and ammunition legally. “This includes all the purchases Paddock made at gun stores as well as online purchases,” the report states. “Paddock did not commit a crime until he fired the first round into the crowd at the Las Vegas Village.”
The 64-year-old Paddock owned a home in Mesquite, Nev., about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas along the Arizona border, as well as a home in Reno, Nev. Investigators know he made a number of international trips starting in 2012, including to Europe, Asia, and South America. He liked to gamble, was an accountant, and worked in real estate. His ex-wife Peggy Reiko said he had also worked for the IRS as well as for Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
In the 34 years leading up to September 2016, the report states that the shooter bought 29 firearms—a rifle, shotguns, and handguns. Beginning in October 2016 until September 27, however, he bought more than 55 guns—mostly rifles—as well as ammunition, scopes, bump stocks, and other related items.
On Sept. 17, 2017, Paddock checked into The Ogden, a condominium on North Las Vegas Blvd. near Fremont Street with a reservation through Sept. 28. On Sept. 25 he also checked into his first of two rooms on the 32nd floor at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, about six and a half miles south of The Ogden. The report states that he “transported multiple suitcases to his room on several occasions.” He then booked an adjoining room at the Mandalay Bay starting Sept. 27.
From Sept. 25 until the Oct. 1 shooting, Paddock spent time gambling, traveling between the Mandalay Bay, The Ogden, his home in Mesquite, Reno, and Arizona. On Sept. 26 he wired $50,000 from Mesquite to a bank in the Philippines, and he wired another $50,000 to the Philippines on Sept. 28.
The report noted that the day before the shooting, Paddock traveled to Mesquite twice—the first time around 1 a.m., returning by about 6 a.m. with four suitcases. He went to Mesquite again about 8 p.m. and then returned to the Mandalay Bay, arriving at the self-park garage at 3 a.m. on Oct. 1. Throughout these trips he was observed moving suitcases and baggage into his room.
Shooting and Aftermath
With the Route 91 Harvest concert in progress at Las Vegas Village on Oct. 1, Mandalay Bay security officer Jesus Campos was checking on Hotel Service Optimization System (HotSOS) alarms beginning about 9:18 p.m. according to the report. HotSOS alarms, the report said, are result of guest room doors “ajar for a predetermined amount of time” and are typical throughout any given day at the hotel. Guests in the room with an alarm are first called, and if no answer, a security member is dispatched.
One of the rooms Campos was to check was on the 32nd floor. Campos was taking the stairs from the 30th floor to the 32nd. When he reached the 32nd floor, the stairwell door would not open. He climbed another flight and then took the elevator back down to 32. He saw that the stairwell door had been blocked by an “L” bracket attacked to the door frame to keep the door shut. Campos then called the security dispatcher about 10:04 to report the barricaded door, and was then transferred to a maintenance supervisor.
Campos then heard what he called a “rapid drilling sound” from Paddock’s room and then determined it was automatic gunfire. At that point, the report stated, Campos realized he’d been shot in the leg.
The timeline of events has been one of controversy since the middle of October. Initially, reports were that Campos had diverted Paddock’s attention, was shot, and Paddock did not continue shooting down on the crowd. Later, officials changed the time Campos was shot, saying he was shot at 9:59 p.m., and Paddock began shooting at the crowd at 10:05.
In the report, the detailed timeline has Paddock begin shooting at 10:05, and Campos is shot one minute later at 10:06. While Paddock continued firing, the timeline shows him begin shooting at the airport fuel tanks near the concert venue beginning at 10:08 and continuing for about a minute.
The report states that “strike teams” assembled were told the shooter was on either the 29th or 31st floor.
By 10:12, additional armed Mandalay Bay security members were on the 32nd floor. The last volley from Paddock noted in the timeline is at 10:15 p.m.
LVMPD officers arrived on the 31st floor at 10:16. The next arrival of law enforcement doesn’t get mention until 10:41, when a strike team arrived and cleared the 31st floor. The team did not reach the 32nd floor until 10:57, when they broke through the still-barricaded stairwell door that Campos reported.
Law enforcement used explosives to enter Paddock’s room at 11:20 p.m. and found him with “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.”
The arsenal that Paddock had assembled in the two rooms included about 23 rifles as well as a handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The report documents an abundance of evidence found in the two rooms, Paddock’s homes, his car, and other locations.
The report notes that specifics about ammunition will be available in the final report on the incident, although the types of ammunition used included “hollow point and polymer tipped hollow point ammunition” as well “tracer, frangible incendiary, armor piercing, and armor piercing incendiary ammunition.”
Paddock had set up a camera system to monitor activity in the hallway outside his shooting perch. Officials seeing wires running from the cameras located on a room service cart in the hallway outside one of his doors thought it could be an improvised explosive device. He also had attached a camera to the door’s peep hole.
Interviews with Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who was in the Philippines when the shooting occurred, revealed that Paddock was “distant.” In early September they had stayed at the Mandalay Bay, and Danley told authorities he kept looking out windows and “would move from window to window looking at the site from different angles.”
Investigators interviewed a physician who had reportedly treated Paddock since 2009. The report said the physician thought the shooter had bipolar disorder, but “Paddock did not want to discuss that topic further with him.” A prescription for the anxiety drug Diazepam was found in one of Paddock’s Mandalay Bay rooms.
The report also contains information on Paddock’s online searches, which include searches for a variety of large, “open air concert venues” as well as searches for items such as “swat weapons” and “do police use explosives.” On another computer, investigators found other queries, including “How tall is Mandalay Bay” and a number of other hotel inquiries in Las Vegas.
Paddock had made hotel reservations during Chicago’s Lollapalooza music festival in August as well. “Paddock specifically requested a room overlooking the venue when he made the reservation,” the report said. “The reservation was cancelled two days prior to the check in date.”
Several items have been submitted for DNA analysis, but the report says analysis at this point “has not yielded any significant results or indication that anyone else was in the room.”
The entire report, including timeline and evidential images, may be viewed here.