New information released by the FBI Friday shows the meticulous planning the Las Vegas gunman did to prepare for the October attack and its aftermath.
Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people and wounded over 500 others when he opened fire on a crowd from a hotel room in October, went through extensive measures in order to hold back the inevitable investigation that would come after his crime, according to The New York Times.
One warrant said that Paddock “destroyed or tried to hide digital media devices” that could aid in the investigation. He reportedly used a prepaid cellphone and other means of anonymous communication.
“Paddock planned the attack meticulously and took many methodical steps to avoid detection of his plot and to thwart the eventual law enforcement investigation that would follow,” the FBI said.
Despite the new information, the shooter’s motives are still unknown.
Three cellphones were found in Paddock’s room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, but one could not be unlocked. An FBI agent wrote in the search warrant that “if there were any information related to a potential conspiracy, it would be found within” that phone.
The search warrants also talk about how law enforcement has focused on Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, for the investigation. Danley has reportedly cooperated with the investigators and said that she was unaware of the attack plans.
“She has been identified thus far as the most likely person who aided or abetted Stephen Paddock based on her informing law enforcement that her fingerprints would likely be found on the ammunition used during the attack,” the documents read, according to The Times.
Danley’s fingerprints would be found on the ammunition because she occasionally helped Paddock load magazines. She also told investigators in October that Paddock’s physical and mental health seemed to have deteriorated in the months prior to the attack.
In an affidavit submitted with the search warrant application, an FBI investigator said that having access to Danley’s email account could “lead investigators to determine the full scope of Stephen Paddock’s plan and Marilou Danley’s possible involvement,” The Times reported.
Data from Instagram accounts authorities believe to be connected to Danley have also been requested in order to get information about her “state of mind as it relates to the crime under investigation.”
Danley’s Facebook account had also been deleted hours after the attack. At 12:30 a.m., over two hours after the shooting began, she changed her account to private, but it was deleted entirely by 2:46 a.m., according to the Times.
This is not the first time that investigators have suspected that Danley could be withholding information.
Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo gave an interview with KLAS in November and said that although there was not any current reason to doubt Danley’s claim that she did not know about Paddock’s plan, there are gaps in her account that she could fill in for law enforcement.
“There is a lot of people that have hundreds and hundreds of guns, but for this individual to do it at a certain point in time and to do it all with such robust action, you would think that Ms. Danley would have some information associated with that,” he said. “But currently we haven’t been able to pull that out of her, if it’s in her.”
Danley was among those mentioned by Lombardo as individuals he thought may have been able to prevent the shooting.
“It could have been prevented on many levels,” Lombardo said. “Marilou Danley, his brother, anybody that may have had some modicum of information that would have presented this individual’s state of mind, but apparently right now we don’t know that.”
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