The gunman who opened fire on a Las Vegas music festival from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino was an arms dealer, and his girlfriend handled his ammo and helped him load magazines, according to search warrants unsealed by a judge on Friday.
Multimillionaire real-estate developer and video-poker aficionado Stephen Paddock, 64, unleashed a hail of bullets into the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay on the night of October 1, 2017, killing 58 over a 10 minute period before reportedly shooting himself in the head.
After investigating Paddock’s computer, cellphone and electronic devices, investigators found no obvious or ideological motive, however we now know he sent at least two strange emails, possibly to himself, discussing firearms.
“Investigators have been unable to figure out why Stephen Paddock would be exchanging messages related to weapons that were utilized in the attack between two of his email accounts. Conversely, if the Target Account was not controlled by Stephen Paddock, investigators need to determine who was communicating with him about weapons that were used in the attack,” according to a warrant.
In an email sent from Paddock’s Microsoft Live email account, “firstname.lastname@example.org” to “email@example.com,” Paddock wrote “try and ar before u buy. we have huge selection. located in the las vegas area.” The “centralpark4804” account wrote back “we have a wide variety of optics and ammunition to try.” Paddock emailed back “for a thrill try out bumpfire ar’s with a 100 round magazine.”
The warrant goes on to read “Investigators believe these communications may have been related to the eventual attack that occurred at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.”
Investigators found 23 firearms in Paddock’s room – several of which were outfitted with “bump-fire” stocks, a large quantity of ammunition, high capacity magazines, a handgun, a bulletproof vest and a “breathing apparatus” in Paddock’s room. 1,600 round of additional ammunition along with 50 pounds of explosives and ammonium nitrate – often used to manufacture explosives, were found in his Hyundai Tucson SUV. Investigators say he planned to survive the assault and escape, and had set up several surveillance cameras in various locations throughout the room, the peep hole of his door, and in the hallway outside.
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