Las Vegas gunman may have scoped out other music festivals - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Las Vegas gunman may have scoped out other music festivals

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Gunman Stephen Paddock rented rooms overlooking two other music festivals in Las Vegas and Chicago, authorities said. (Photo courtesy of Eric Paddock via AP) Gunman Stephen Paddock rented rooms overlooking two other music festivals in Las Vegas and Chicago, authorities said. (Photo courtesy of Eric Paddock via AP)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Investigators are looking into whether gunman Stephen Paddock scoped out bigger music festivals in Las Vegas and Chicago — and perhaps Boston's Fenway Park — before setting up his perch in a casino hotel and raining deadly fire on country music fans.

Paddock booked rooms overlooking the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago in August and the Life Is Beautiful show near the Vegas Strip in late September, according to authorities reconstructing his movements before he undertook the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

It was not clear if he contemplated massacres at those sites.

Investigators looking into Paddock also came across mention of Fenway Park, Boston police Lt. Detective Mike McCarthy said, though he provided no further details.

The details came to light as investigators struggled to figure out why the high-stakes gambler opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 Sunday night from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel casino in Las Vegas. He killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 before taking his own life.

A federal official said authorities are looking into the possibility Paddock planned additional attacks, including a car bombing. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Authorities previously disclosed Paddock had 1,600 rounds of ammunition in his car, along with fertilizer that can be used to make explosives and 50 pounds of Tannerite, a substance used in explosive rifle targets.

In the meantime, Las Vegas police announced Thursday that they had found a Hyundai Tuscon they had been searching for as part of the probe while executing a search warrant at the home in Reno that Paddock shared with his girlfriend, Marilou Danley. It wasn't immediately clear if the car was found on Thursday or earlier in the week when police searched the home and found several guns and ammunition.

Paddock had an arsenal of 23 weapons in his hotel room. A dozen of them included "bump stocks," attachments that can effectively convert semi-automatic rifles into fully automated weapons.

In a rare concession on gun control, the National Rifle Association announced its support Thursday for regulating the devices.

Danley told FBI agents Wednesday she had not noticed any changes in his mental state or indications he could become violent, the federal official said.

Paddock sent Danley on a trip to her native Philippines before the attack, and she was unaware of his plans and devastated when she learned of the carnage while overseas, she said in a statement.

Investigators combing through his background for clues remain stumped as to his motive.

The profile developed so far is of a "disturbed and dangerous" man who acquired an arsenal over decades, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. But investigators have been frustrated to find that he lived a "secret life," Lombardo said, "much of which will never be fully understood."

A former executive casino host at the Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa in Reno said Paddock had a "god complex" and expected quick service without regard to how busy the staff was at the time.

"He liked everybody to think that he was the guy," John Weinreich said. "He didn't boast about anything he had or anything. It was just his demeanor. It was like, 'I'm here. Don't cross me. Don't look at me too long.' "

The weekend before the massacre, he rented a room through Airbnb at the 21-story Ogden condominiums in downtown Las Vegas and stayed there during a music festival below that included Chance the Rapper, Muse, Lorde and Blink-182.

"Reasons that ran through Paddock's mind is unknown, but it was directly at the same time as Life Is Beautiful," the sheriff said.

Police were reviewing video shot at the high-rise to check Paddock's movements. His renting the condo was curious because, as a high-roller, he could have easily gotten a free room at one of the casino hotels on the Vegas Strip.

In early August, Paddock booked a room at Chicago's 21-story Blackstone Hotel that overlooked the park where the Lollapalooza alternative music festival was being held, though there's no evidence he actually stayed there, a law enforcement official said Thursday.

The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity after being briefed on the investigation.

The hotel confirmed a Stephen Paddock made a reservation but said he never checked in.

Lollapalooza draws hundreds of thousands of music fans every year to Grant Park.

Although Paddock killed himself as a SWAT team closed in, the sheriff said it appeared he had planned to survive and had an escape plan. Lombardo would not elaborate on the plan.

The coroner's office in Las Vegas would not release details of its autopsy on Paddock. Some behavioral experts have wondered whether he suffered from some kind of brain abnormality or had a terminal illness that prompted him to lash out.

[Slideshow: Portraits of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting]

On behalf of The Blackstone, we can confirm that there was no guest under that name who stayed at our hotel in August during the Lollapalooza music festival. We can confirm that a reservation was made under the name Stephen Paddock, however authorities have not confirmed that this is the same person as the Las Vegas shooter. We are cooperating with the authorities on this matter.

On October 2, the official Twitter account of Lallapalooza tweeted, "Our hearts are with you Las Vegas. Thoughts and prayers to all those affected, their families and loved ones. #prayforvegas."

The official said no evidence has been found that Paddock ever came to Chicago that weekend. Lollapalooza draws hundreds of thousands of music fans every year to Grant Park.

The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity after being briefed on the investigation. Paddock's booking of the hotel room was first reported by TMZ.

[Slideshow: Shooting on Las Vegas Strip]

Also, the weekend before the Las Vegas bloodbath, Paddock had rented a high-rise condo in a Las Vegas building that overlooked the Life is Beautiful alternative music festival, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Tuesday.

He offered no other details about what led Paddock there. The music festival featured Chance the Rapper, Muse, Lorde and Blink-182.

When Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay on Sept. 28, he specifically requested an upper-floor room with a view of the Route 91 Harvest music festival, according to a person who has seen hotel records turned over to investigators and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Investigators trying to establish the motive for the attack have had little more to chase than hints and shadows.

Where other mass killers have left behind a trail of plain-sight clues that help investigators quickly understand what drove them to violence, Paddock led a low-key, private life. He had no known criminal record and almost no close friends, social media presence or other clear connections to the broader world.

The No. 2 official in the FBI said Wednesday he was surprised investigators had not uncovered more.

"There's all kinds of things that surprise us in each one of these events. That's the one in this one, and we are not there yet," FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said. "We have a lot of work to do."

Investigators have zeroed in on a weapon-buying binge Paddock went on in the year before the attack. They wonder if he had some sort of mental break at the time that drove him to start making plans for mass murder.

They are also looking at his gambling habits and checking records for any disputes he might have had with casinos or fellow patrons.

On Wednesday, FBI agents trying to understand his state of mind questioned his girlfriend, 62-year-old Marilou Danley, who was out of the country during the attack. She was visiting her native Philippines.

She said she had no inkling of his murderous plans.

"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," she said in a statement read by her lawyer.

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Gurman reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Don Babwin in Chicago; Brian Melley and Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles, Regina Garcia Cano and Michelle Price in Las Vegas; Jim Gomez and Teresa Cerojano in Manila, Philippines; and Richard Lardner, Eric Tucker and Tami Abdollah in Washington contributed to this report.