Released FBI warrants reveal chilling extent of Las Vegas shooter’s attack planning

  • Mass murderer’s casino hotel room was prepped for the assault
  • Evidence shows a “level of sophistication”, say investigators

Federal court documents relating to the mass shooting in Las Vegas last October have given some insight into the disturbing extent to which killer Steven Paddock planned the attack.

Stephen Paddock was a casino regular
There is still little clue as to what drove Stephen Paddock to commit his heinous crime, but released documents show the extent to which it was planned.

FBI search warrants released last week give a chilling look inside the Mandalay Bay hotel room from which the shooter unleashed his carnage.

The warrants show that the attack, which killed 58 people and wounded more than 500, was carefully planned by Paddock. He took steps to avoid detection before the attack, and he used tools to prepare the hotel room and his arsenal of weapons so that he could cause the maximum impact on his unsuspecting victims.

Inside the hotel suite

The shooting took place at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

The victims were attending a country music festival at a venue across the street, and Paddock had a birds-eye view of the plaza below. After shooting at hundreds of people with a modified automatic rifle, he killed himself before he could be captured by the authorities.

Inside the room, officers discovered evidence that showed careful planning. Glass cutting tools had been used to make holes in the window to accommodate the gun barrel, while body armor, a gas mask and even a hand grenade were among the stored tactical equipment Paddock had smuggled into the suite.

Investigators discovered a computer in the room, but the hard drive had already been removed and destroyed. A prepaid and unregistered cell phone was also discovered.

Court documents say that evidence suggests Paddock “destroyed or tried to hide digital media devices” to avoid detection, though it is unclear if he intended to escape from the room.

Gambler Paddock’s “$1 million a night” video poker habit

No motive has been discovered for the awful attack.

Paddock was known to frequent the Vegas casinos, and proclaimed himself to be “biggest video poker player in the world”. Documents in a personal injury deposition suggest that he regularly gambled up to $1 million in a single play session.

At one point he claimed to play 14 hours a day, every day of the year. “I’ll gamble all night,” the killer is quoted as saying. “I sleep during the day.”

A gambling addiction does not explain what drove the Vegas native to murder and maim hundreds of festival attendees from a casino hotel window, however. Paddock was known to have a prescription drug problem too, relying heavily on Valium which he got on a retainer basis from an obliging doctor.

He was also known to have a propensity for weapons, stockpiling large quantities of guns and ammunition. The evidence suggests he planned the attack meticulously, right down to the final details. Investigators now have to unravel what brought all these risk factors to a climax, leading to America’s deadliest mass shooting in modern history.

Investigators focus on partner’s involvement

The court documents also reveal how Paddock’s partner Marilou Delaney was under suspicion, pending investigation. Her ID was found in Paddock’s Mandalay Bay hotel suite, though Delaney herself was visiting family in the Philippines when the attack unfolded.

Delaney told investigators that they may well find her fingerprints on the ammunition and weapons in Paddock’s possession, as she had previously helped him to load the guns. However, she denies any involvement in the shooting or knowledge of it.

“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,” Delaney is quoted as saying.

Shortly after the attack, records released by federal investigators show she closed and then deleted her social media account.

No charges have ever been brought against Danley.

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