Congressman briefed on Las Vegas shooting probe says no motive has emerged for the attack – Los Angeles Times
The elder Paddock, who had a wife and four children in Arizona, was placed on the most-wanted list after escaping from a federal prison in La Tuna, Texas, on Dec. 31, 1968, having served eight years of a 20-year sentence.
He was captured in Springfield, Ore., in 1978, having opened a bingo parlor for a nonprofit organization in Eugene, Ore., during his time on the lam. He died in 1998.
Paddock’s former brother-in-law, Scott Brunoehler, remembers the gunman as a smart, fun-loving person.
Paddock was a young man thriving in Southern California when he was married to Brunoehler’s sister, Sharon, in the 1970s and early 1980s, Brunoehler said in an interview.
“Oh, he was a smart guy, like an accountant or something. He had a good job, he was a great guy actually,” Brunoehler said. “We used to go water skiing together.”
Brunoehler, 62, said he hasn’t spoken to Paddock since he divorced his sister.
“It was pretty mutual, they just kind of grew apart,” Brunoehler said.
When they were in their 20s and 30s, Paddock would take them out on his boat at Castaic Lake or Buena Vista Lake in Kern County, Brunoehler said.
“He seemed like a normal, good guy. I don’t remember anything bad back then at all,” he said. “I’m still in shock.”
Public records suggest that Paddock also owned or co-owned real-estate in California and Texas, according to the Associated Press.
Previously, the worst mass shooting in modern American history was the June 12, 2016, massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. That gunman, Omar Mateen, had pledged his allegiance to Islamic State.
With the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007 — where 32 people were killed by a mentally disturbed student — the three deadliest shootings in nearly a century have all happened within the past 10 years.
The fact that the gunman was positioned on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort and casino overlooking the outdoor concert site made victims particularly vulnerable, law enforcement experts said.
“It is so so challenging when you have shooter in a very, very high position,” said retired Los Angeles Police Dept. commander Rick Webb, an expert on active shooter scenarios. “It was very well-thought-out on his part, it is a horrible tragedy.”
Webb said it takes time to locate a shooter and that Las Vegas is a very challenging backdrop, even for the experienced Las Vegas Metro Police.
The three-day Route 91 Harvest country music festival was underway across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Mandalay Bay when the shooting erupted about four or five songs into Aldean’s performance.
“Single shot. Single shot, then a lot of shots,” concert attendee Frank Allard said. Many concertgoers didn’t initially realize what was going on.
“I thought it was like bottle rockets going off,” said Seth Bayles, of West Hollywood, who was about 50 feet from the stage. “Then we saw people dropping. We saw someone get hit and then we started running.”
Dozens of people dropped to the ground, screaming, while others ran, some in pairs or in groups with their arms linked. The shooting went on for more than 30 seconds before the music stopped, and another burst was heard later. Aldean and the band were pulled off stage.
“Get down, stay down,” one woman shouted in a video posted to social media. “Let’s go,” another voice said. Another wave of gunshots followed soon after.
Allard said the crowd began to stampede and he grabbed a nearby fence, stretched both arms wide and tried to shield his wife from the danger. Then they ran.
“We followed the crowd out,” said his wife, Bernice Allard.
Two men near Mandalay Bay said they heard someone in a helicopter with a bullhorn yelling, “Go! Go! Go!” as the incident unfolded.
The scene was one of pandemonium. “Thirty-five years, and I have never seen that many ambulances [as] I saw last night…Dozens. Dozens and dozens,” said Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell.
Dispatch audio revealed that police were dealing with a chaotic scene, as they received erroneous reports of active shooters all over the place — supposedly at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino, the Tropicana Las Vegas Casino Hotel Resort and at the Aria Resort and Casino.
In the end, there was only one gunman in one location, police said.
Some officers loaded multiple victims into the backs of their squad cars to take them to area hospitals. “We’re going to have a lot of people self-transporting in pickup trucks,” one officer radioed.
Police and SWAT teams streamed into the Mandalay Bay hotel, where police said they coordinated with hotel security to narrow down what floor the gunman was on, after which his room was easy to find.
“We need to pop this and see if we’ve got any kind of response from this guy,” one officer whispered into his radio from near Paddock’s room, as he and other officers prepared an explosive charge for the door.
“All units move back, all units move back,” a dispatcher said.
“Breach, breach, breach!” one of the officers said, a transmission that was followed by the sound of an explosion.
Paddock had killed himself, officials said later. “We have one suspect down inside the room,” one official radioed.
Some of those shot were off-duty law enforcement officers.
One of the dead was an off-duty officer who was attending the concert, Lombardo said. Several other officers from Nevada and California, both on and off duty, were wounded by gunfire, officials said.
Several off-duty Bakersfield police officers were among those attending the concert when the gunfire began. Bakersfield Police Lt. Jeff Burdick said they were not in a position to return fire.
One Bakersfield officer was wounded by the gunfire and was taken to a hospital for treatment, but is expected to survive, Burdick said.
Two young prosecutors were near the stage when the shooting happened and remained “pretty shaken up,” said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson. “This is a classic W.M.D. — a weapon, and a man, of mass destruction.”
“A tragic and heinous act of violence has shaken the Nevada family,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said on Twitter. “Our prayers are with the victims and all affected by this act of cowardice.”
Both Trump and California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered flags flown at half-staff. “Our prayers and deepest sympathies are with the families and loved ones of those killed and injured in last night’s tragic and senseless shooting and we stand with the people of Nevada in this difficult time,” he said in a statement.
At University Medical Center early Monday, Mason Van Houweling, the hospital’s CEO, stood outside with the officers, his face weary. He’d been there since just after the shooting.