By Danielle Caci
The deadliest mass-shooting in U.S. history was carried out on October 1, by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, when he opened fire from his hotel room in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, onto about 22,000 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Officials have determined that the note found in his hotel room contained carefully planned out calculations to help him carry out the onslaught. When the note was first discovered it was thought to be a piece of scrap paper with insignificant numbers on it, but has now been deciphered as numbers relating to the trajectory and distance from Paddock’s 32nd floor hotel room and the concert below, according to CNN. The calculations regarding the bullet’s path, helped Paddock determine where exactly he needed to aim to increase his accuracy and maximize his number of kills.
According to CBS News, the Last Vegas Police Department’s David Newton stated, “I could see the on it [note] he had written the distance, the elevation he was on, the drop of what his bullet was going to be for the crowd. So, he had that written down and figured out so he would know where to hit his targets from there.” It is still unclear how the gunman managed to get 23 firearms into his hotel room, but he also had more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition and 50 pounds of exploding targets in his car, which was in the hotel parking lot, as CNN stated in their article. This discovery has led to speculation as to whether he planned on using these weapons in a later attack or to aid in his attack of the country music festival.
The New York Times claims that Paddock may have actually looked at other locations for this attack including, Boston’s Fenway Park, Chicago’s Lollapalooza, and Las Vegas’ Life is Beautiful music festival. Authorities are still trying to figure out why exactly he chose the country music festival to target. Although officials have been able to find out some specific ways in which Paddock planned his attack and was able to execute it accordingly, they still have not been able to figure out the motive behind such malicious actions.
It was believed that his girlfriend, 62-year-old Marilou Danley, was a suspect that could help them piece together why a retired accountant with no criminal record would want to kill innocent individuals. However, as stated in the Washington Post, Danley was in the Philippines during the incident, to visit family, and had no idea what Paddock had done or planned. Upon arrival to the U.S. she was questioned by the police and promised them full cooperation in their procedures. Danley was unable to provide the investigation with insight to Paddock’s motives as she described him as a calm and docile man.
The Washington Post published that she even went to say, “I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man. 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.” The numerous leads on this story continue to grow, but since Paddock killed himself after the attack, it is very difficult for officials to define a clear motive for the mass shooting. Investigations will continue in an attempt to piece together this complicated tragedy, in hopes to target the true motivation and prevent similar attacks in the future.