Associated Press


The motive behind the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history remained a mystery as police sought to learn more about the apparent “lone wolf” gunman who opened fire on tens of thousands of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel.

At least 59 people were killed and more than 500 others injured in the shooting, which happened during a Sunday night performance by country music star Jason Aldean at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

The gunman, Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old retiree from Mesquite, Nevada, hammered out a window at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino and began firing with a cache of weapons.

The suspected gunman, Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old retiree from Mesquite, Nevada, wasn’t on law enforcement’s radar. They think he acted alone but want to talk with his 62-year-old girlfriend.

US President Donald Trump visited hospital bedsides and a vital police base in stricken Las Vegas on Wednesday, offering prayers and condolences to the victims of Sunday night’s shooting massacre, along with the nation’s thanks to first responders and doctors who rushed to save lives.

“America is truly a nation in mourning,” the president declared.

In prepared remarks, Trump spoke of the courage displayed by those who risked or lost their lives saving loved ones and total strangers. He described an eyewitness account of police officers standing as bullets slammed around them and trying to direct concert-goers to safety.

“Our souls are stricken with grief for every American who lost a husband or a wife, a mother or a father, a son or a daughter,” he told victims and first responders. “We know that your sorrow feels endless. We stand together to help you carry your pain.”

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a news conference Wednesday night that Paddock must have had some help along the way given his huge arsenal the explosive materials found in his car, and his meticulous plan, but they don’t know who that might be.

Paddock had 23 guns in his hotel room, including rifles with scopes, Lombardo said. Two were modified to make them fully automatic, according to two U.S. officials.

Authorities are discounting the possibility that international terrorist organizations were involved in the shooting, despite a claim of responsibility by the Islamic State group.

“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,” Marilou Danley, 62, said in a statement read by her lawyer outside FBI headquarters in Los Angeles.

Danley returned Tuesday from the Philippines, where Paddock had sent her before the attack and was being interviewed by the FBI.

Analyzing Paddock’s computer, cellphone, and other electronic devices, Investigators have found no obvious ideological motive, no clear connection to extremists or activist groups or outward display of mental illness.

Paddock wired $100,000 to the Philippines days before the shooting, said a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly because of the continuing investigation. Investigators are trying to trace that money.

Danley, who was overseas for more than two weeks, said she was initially pleased when she was wired money from Paddock to buy a house for her family in the Philippines. But she later feared it was a way to break up with her.

She said she loved Paddock as a “kind, caring, quiet man” and hoped they would have a future together. She said she was devastated by the carnage and would cooperate with authorities as they struggle to get inside Paddock’s mind.

Those seeking to know the motive of Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock have had little more to chase than hints and shadows. Paddock led such a low-key, private life that no one seemed to know him well, and those who did had no sense he was capable of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

Where other mass killers have left behind a trail of plain-sight clues that help investigators quickly understand what drove them to violence, Paddock had nearly no close friends, social media presence or other clear connections to the broader world.

At least 527 people were injured in the attack, along with the 59 confirmed dead. Survivors have shared harrowing tales of gunfire raining down on the crowd.

Among the confirmed fatalities was Sonny Melton, a registered nurse. His wife, Dr. Heather Melton, an orthopedic surgeon who was with him when shots were fired, survived.

Heather Melton told WZTV in Nashville that her husband “saved my life and lost his.” She says her husband was the most kind-hearted, loving man she ever met.

Others slain include commercial fisherman from Alaska, a high school secretary from New Mexico, a records technician with a California police department and a mechanics’ apprentice from British Columbia.

Paddock’s brother, Eric Paddock, who lives in Florida, says his multimillionaire brother was a big spender at casinos and often received free meals and rooms there.

Eric Paddock also described his brother as different than other people: “He was a guy who had money. He went on cruises and gambled.”

Stephen Craig Paddock was living in Mesquite, Nevada, and authorities say he previously lived in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, Texas, from 2004 to 2012, and possibly longer.

His father, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, was a notorious bank robber who wound up on the FBI’s most wanted list after escaping from prison in 1968.

Christine Torres, right, and her daughter Sydney Torres hug at a memorial for the shooting victims in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Authorities are trying to determine why Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and retired accountant, killed dozens of people at a country music festival Sunday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

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