The Las Vegas gunman who killed 58 people and himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history stockpiled weapons and ammunition over decades, and meticulously planned the attack, authorities believe.
Stephen Paddock, 64, may also have looked into the possibility of carrying out an attack in Chicago or Boston, media reports said on Thursday.
Investigators probing Sunday night’s shooting were still baffled by Paddock’s motives.
“What we know is that Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and living a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood,” Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters on Wednesday night.
Lombardo said he found it hard to believe that the arsenal of weapons, ammunition and explosives recovered by police in their investigation could have been assembled by Paddock completely on his own, adding he might have had help at some point.
Before the Las Vegas attack, Paddock booked rooms in a Chicago hotel that overlooked the site of the August Lollapalooza music festival, USA Today reported on Thursday, citing an unnamed law enforcement official. It was unclear if Paddock ever used the room or was in Chicago during the festival, the newspaper quoted the official as saying. (Graphics on ‘Las Vegas attack’ – here)
He also researched locations in Boston, NBC reported, citing multiple law enforcement sources.
Police in Boston and Chicago said they were aware of the reports and investigating them.
Some 489 people were also injured when Paddock strafed an outdoor concert with gunfire from a 32nd-floor hotel suite on the Las Vegas Strip. He then killed himself.
Police recovered nearly 50 firearms from three locations they searched, nearly half of them from the hotel suite. Officials said 12 of the rifles there were fitted with bump stocks, allowing the guns to be fired almost as though they were automatic weapons.