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Investigators looking for clues to what set off Vegas gunman

 

October 4, 2017



LAS VEGAS (AP) — Investigators trying to figure out why Stephen Paddock gunned down 59 people from his high-rise hotel suite are analyzing his computer and cellphone, looking at casino surveillance footage and seeking to interview his longtime girlfriend.

Nearly two days after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, what set off the 64-year-old high-rolling gambler and retired accountant remained a big question mark Tuesday.

While the probe into his background included searches of two houses he owned in Nevada, some investigators turned their focus from the shooter’s perch to the killing grounds outside the Mandalay Bay hotel casino where his victims fell.

A dozen investigators, most in FBI jackets and all wearing blue booties to avoid contaminating evidence, entered the festival site where gunfire erupted Sunday night and country music gave way to screams of pain and terror.

“Shoes, baby strollers, chairs, sunglasses, purses. The whole field was just littered with things,” said Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who told The Associated Press it was like a “war zone.” ‘’There were bloodstains everywhere.”

Paddock killed himself before a SWAT team blew off the door of his room on the 32nd floor. He had 23 guns with him at the hotel — along with devices that can enable a rifle to fire continuously, like an automatic — and 19 more guns at one of his homes, authorities said.

More than 500 people were injured in the rampage, some by gunfire, some during the chaotic escape. At least 45 patients at two hospitals remained in critical condition.

Retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente speculated that there was “some sort of major trigger in his life — a great loss, a breakup, or maybe he just found out he has a terminal disease.”

Clemente said a “psychological autopsy” may be necessary to try to establish the motive for the attack. If the suicide didn’t destroy Paddock’s brain, experts may even find a neurological disorder or malformation, he said.

He said there could even be a genetic component to the slaughter: Paddock’s father was a bank robber who was on the FBI’s most-wanted list in the 1960s and was diagnosed a psychopath.

“The genetics load the gun, personality and psychology aim it, and experiences pull the trigger, typically,” Clemente said.

GOP leader says NRA-backed gun bill shelved indefinitely

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders called for unity and prayer Tuesday after the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, but offered no new legislation to tighten gun laws and said a bill to ease regulations on gun silencers would be shelved indefinitely.

“We are all reeling from this horror in Las Vegas,” Speaker Paul Ryan said at a news conference. “This is just awful.”

Ryan said there’s no plan for the House to act soon on a National Rifle Association-backed bill to ease regulations on gun silencers. A House panel had backed the bill last month and lawmakers were expected to move ahead on the measure.

The bill is “not scheduled right now. I don’t know when it will be scheduled,” Ryan said.

Instead, Ryan and other GOP leaders urged prayers to unify the country and said a positive way to respond to the shooting is to donate blood. Ryan said the actions of the gunman who killed at least 59 people and wounded hundreds more will not “define us as a country. It’s not who we are.”

Ryan’s comments came as Democrats renewed calls for gun safety legislation.

Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, pushed Congress to pass a universal background checks bill and “commonsense gun laws” to help prevent the next mass shooting.

 
 

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