Massacred by an automatic rifle in the hands of Stephen Paddock, 58 helpless Las Vegas music fans tragically lost their lives so far, at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The numbers are still going up. Headliner Jason Aldean was settling into a groove mid-set just after 10 pm when everything erupted into chaos. America’s worst mass shooting left 515 more injured. This tops the carnage from the Pulse nightclub where 49 were murdered in Orlando.
Police have identified retired accountant Stephen Craig Paddock as the madman who started blasting Sunday night from the 32nd floor of nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel.
An hour before, an unknown female “mystery woman” was tossed out of the venue for shouting “They’re all around, you’re all going to die!” After the shooting, authorities were looking hard for the lunatic’s live-in companion, Marilou Danley. They since learned that the local casino employee is currently out of the country and is not a suspect. Paddock was using her ID when he checked into the hotel on September 28, cops say. The couple is going through a breakup and she they spoke with her. Paddock is also in the process of divorcing his wife.
Nobody knows what Paddock’s motive was but ISIS claims to have recruited him. That is only wishful thinking U.S. Officials say. “There is NO PROOF to ISIS claim that Vegas shooter ‘converted to Islam months ago’ and was acting on their behalf.”
The assassin’s brother, Eric Paddock, advised reporters the family is “dumbfounded.” They have no idea what Stephen was thinking. “He was just a guy. Something happened, he snapped.” His retired brother lived in the resort community Mesquite, Nevada which sits along the Arizona border and “came to Las Vegas often to gamble.” The 64-year-old owned a $400,000 home and was a licensed pilot. He didn’t have a criminal record but he did like to go hunting.
Eric relates that Stephen “wasn’t religious, political or had any mental illness that he knows of.” It has been a while since they talked, Eric lives in Florida. “Our condolences to everyone,” Eric apologized. “We just don’t understand. It’s like an asteroid just fell out of the sky and we have no reason, rhyme, rationale, excuse – there’s just nothing.”
Former neighbors in the Florida town of Isle de Viera describe Stephen Paddock as normal. “He seemed normal, other than that he lived by gambling. He was very open about that,” Sharon Judy recalls. “First time we ever met him, he handed us the key to the house and said, ‘Hey, would keep an eye on the house, we’re only going to be here every now and then.'”
Two 32nd floor windows were blown out in the large suite of connected rooms, allowing him to target the crowd from both directions. Witnesses relate “hundreds of rounds” were sprayed into the crowd, with Paddock “stopping several times to reload.” Police were able to zero in on the sniper almost immediately. At the same time bullets from the automatic weapon rained down on 22,000 concert-goers, the smoke alarms in room 137 of the Mandalay Bay Casino hotel across the street started going off from the gun-smoke.
38-year-old Brad Barker from Austin, Texas was jolted awake by a SWAT team breaking down his door. “Get some clothes on and run” they barked. Leaving his wallet and phone behind he weaved his way around “all the cops with guns. It was crazy.” SWAT team audio records officers rounding up civilians in the 32nd-floor hallway as they got ready to detonate his door.
“We have sight on the suspect’s door. I need everyone in the hallway to be aware of it and get back,” a SWAT member radioed in. “We need to pop this and see if we get any further response from this guy to see if he’s in here or actually moved somewhere else.” The dispatcher relayed the information. “All units on the 32nd floor, SWAT has an explosive breach, everyone in the hallway needs to move back, all units move back.” Seconds later “breach, breach, breach” as the door blew off.
By then it was already over. Paddock was “found dead among an ‘arsenal’ of weapons and ammunition, including at least 10 guns.” Eric says police identified his brother through a wallet that was found on his body.
President Trump sympathized with the victims, posting on Twitter, “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!”
Later, in a low-key press conference, Trump called the tragedy “senseless murder” and “an act of pure evil.” Planning to travel to Las Vegas Wednesday to meet with victims and their families as well as first responders, Trump grieved, “We pray for the day that evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred and fear. May God bless the souls of the lives that are lost, may God give us the grace of healing and may God provide the healing family with the strength to carry on.”