Police Make Infuriating Ruling in Las Vegas Shooting, Close the Door on Investigation
The Las Vegas Police Department has closed the door into its investigation into why a gunman murdered 58 people and wounded hundreds more in the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting.
“What we have been able to answer are the questions of who, what, when, where and how,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said at a Friday news briefing, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“What we have not been able to definitively answer is the ‘why’ Stephen Paddock committed this act.”
The Friday report revealed just how extensive the carnage wreaked by the 64-year-old gunman, who committed suicide with a revolver shot to the head in his room at the Mandalay Bay, really was.
A total of 869 people received “documented injuries,” which included 413 who “were hit by bullets or shrapnel.”
“Thirty-one people died at the scene, and another 27 were pronounced dead at area hospitals,” the Review-Journal reported.
The report also traced the path of every bullet involved in the shooting — a rather exhaustive task, considering “1,058 shots from 14 different weapons” were fired. Most of these were aimed at the festival grounds.
Police also discovered “5,280 rounds of unspent ammunition and another 10 rifles that had not been fired” in the gunman’s room.
What authorities weren’t able to discover, however, was any discernible motive.
“In reference to the 2,000 investigated leads, 22,000 hours of video, 252,000 images obtained and approximately 1,000 served legal processes, nothing was found to indicate motive on the part of Paddock or that he acted with anyone else,” the report concluded.
The report did state that the shooter suffered from a “diminished mental state” and that a doctor who prescribed him anti-anxiety medication thought that the shooter might have been suffering from undiagnosed mental illness.
“According to the report, the doctor described Paddock as odd and almost emotionless and thought he might have bipolar disorder,” the Review-Journal noted. “He said Paddock seemed fearful of medications and refused to take antidepressant drugs, though he did accept prescriptions for anti-anxiety medicine.”
However, Lombardo said, the interview with the physician “indicated signs of a troubled mind but no troubling behavior that would trigger a call to law enforcement.”
In terms of intent, authorities cited several signs that the gunman had been planning some sort of attack for some time. He had booked a room above the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago and the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas in the months prior to the shooting.
He never checked in to the hotel room in Chicago. Meanwhile, he did stay in the room near the Life is Beautiful festival and video showed him carrying numerous pieces of luggage, similar to what he did at the Mandalay Bay.
“Investigators have been unable to determine if Paddock intended an attack during this festival or if he used it as a means to plan a future attack,” the report read.
“Paddock’s internet search history also included terms related to other open-air venues, Las Vegas police SWAT tactics, various weapons stores and ‘Route 91 harvest festival 2017 attendance,'” the Review-Journal reports.
“He began building an arsenal of about 55 weapons in October 2016, spending an estimated $95,000 on various firearms and ammunition, according to the report.”
Only one person has been charged in the case, a man who sold the gunman armor-piercing rounds. No additional individuals are expected to be charged. This effectively closes the case for local authorities, although the FBI will deliver a report at the end of the year.
Sgt. Jerry MacDonald, one of the leaders of the local investigation, said that the Bureau’s look into Paddock’s psychopathology “might be the closest we get” to a motive.
And that isn’t satisfying to anyone. Given the scale of the killing, the complexities of the case, the odd behavior of the authorities investigating it, and the possibilities that Islamic terrrorism somehow played a role, for investigators to close the file, without determining a motive, is beyond frustrating.
Frankly, it’s infuriating.
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