PHOENIX — Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock's deadly October rampage was meticulously planned, and he scouted other possible targets nationwide before killing 58 concertgoers. But after four months of investigation, his motive remains a mystery.
Those are key takeaways in a preliminary report by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police that describes details of the Oct. 1 mass murder in chronological detail, with photographs and a list of victims.
Paddock, a 64-year-old accountant, gambler and gun collector, carried out his assault from a pair of 32nd-floor rooms at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, which overlooked an open-air concert venue known as Las Vegas Village.
About 22,000 people were enjoying a final performance at the Route 91 Music Festival when Paddock began spraying them with bullets, using so-called "bump stocks" that legally transform semi-automatic rifles into rapid-fire weapons.
In addition to 58 who were killed, an estimated 700 suffered gunshot wounds or were injured during a 10-minute melee as the crowd tried to escape or take cover.
The 81-page report issued Friday says police explored "every fact of Paddock's life" before concluding that he acted alone. The report lists other key findings:
• Paddock's computer searches and other behavior prior to the shooting suggest he scouted other targets, including Southern California beaches, Fenway Park in Boston and an earlier concert in Las Vegas. He had purchased a hotel reservation coinciding with the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago's Grant Park.
• Paddock began planning the attack months earlier, and made extensive, detailed preparations. He conducted Internet searches to learn about Las Vegas police SWAT weapons, tactics and use of explosives. Inside his rooms at the Mandalay Bay, investigators found a blue snorkel with a long tube, possibly used to avoid breathing gunpowder fumes. Outside the rooms, Paddock installed surveillance cameras, a fake explosive and a door-jamming device to thwart police.
• Paddock fired at least eight rounds at a giant propane fuel tank near the Las Vegas airport, striking it twice but failing to trigger what could have been a major explosion.
• Although Paddock assembled a huge arsenal, including more than 100 firearms purchased in the prior year, he had no criminal record and no contact with law enforcement leading up to the slaughter.
• Investigators found no suicide note or manifesto and said there is "no evidence of radicalization or ideology to support any theory that Paddock supported or followed any hate groups or domestic or foreign terrorist organizations."
• The report says forensic analysts found “several hundred images of child pornography” on Paddock’s computer hard drive, and those images remain under investigation.
In short, the police report concludes, "Nothing was found to indicate motive on the part of Paddock."
Las Vegas shooting victims
The fusillade, which involved hundreds of rounds and lasted about 10 minutes, ended when Paddock took a pistol and shot himself in the head.
Police said they investigated nearly 2,000 leads, watched 21,580 hours of video and reviewed 251,000 photographs. They also interviewed scores of witnesses.
Paddock girlfriend Marilou Danley, who was in the Philippines when the shooting took place, told investigators Paddock had become "distant" during the previous year. She related an incident weeks earlier where Paddock "behaved strangely" while in a hotel room overlooking Las Vegas Village. According to the report, she said that Paddock "would move from room to room looking at the site from different angles."
Danley described him as "germophobic" and said he reacted strongly to odors. Others said he complained of chronic illness and fatigue.
Investigators said a physician who treated Paddock described him as "odd" and possibly having bipolar disorder. He said Paddock refused to talk about that issue or to take anti-depressants.
While planning his attack, the report says, Paddock frequently took breaks to gamble tens of thousands of dollars. But he paid off his debts prior to the shooting and also wired $100,000 to the Philippines during that time.
Paddock was found on the floor of his hotel room with a gunshot wound to the head and a small revolver nearby. "Apparent blood was located on the revolver and a pool of blood had formed around Paddock's head," the report says.
Officers found 14 rifle magazines, still loaded, in the room.
Amid the stress at that moment, the report says, a police officer entered the second hotel room used by Paddock and "negligently fired a three-round burst from his rifle." Officers nearby, thinking a shootout had begun, "flooded into the room," but there was no further gunfire.