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Las Vegas mass shooting: Suspect’s girlfriend is ‘person of interest,’ sheriff says

LAS VEGAS — Stephen Paddock, the Nevada man authorities identified as the gunman who killed 58 people at a country music festival on Sunday night in Las Vegas, “continued to fire at a progressive successive rate for approximately 9 minutes” after authorities received a 911 call, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Lombardo shared new details about the investigation into the Sunday night massacre, including that the suspect’s girlfriend is a “person of interest” in the case.

Lombardo said Marilou Danley, who shared a home with Paddock, was traveling and in the Philippines at the time of the shooting. He said “we are in conversation” with Danley but provided no further details.

Additionally, Lombardo said all but three of the deceased victims have been identified. Authorities are still processing the scene of the killings, where shoes and bags lay scattered.

Anyone who was injured or who may have information connected with the criminal investigation is urged to call 311 locally or if they’ve left Las Vegas, to call 702-828-3111.

Putting together the pieces

Every detail of this indiscriminate mass murder seemed meticulously planned.

The selection of a hotel room overlooking a music festival, days before the attack. The cache of 23 weapons inside the gunman’s Las Vegas suite. And thousands of rounds of ammunition — plus an ingredient used in explosives — inside the killer’s home and car.

Yet no one knows why Paddock morphed from a retired accountant to the deadliest mass murderer in modern U.S. history.

Another 527 people are still trying to recover from injuries — everything from gunshot wounds to stampede injuries suffered when 22,000 people tried to flee the gunman’s aim.

So far, police believe Paddock acted alone — which could make the motive harder to determine.

“Most likely, we’ll never know because he’s dead,” criminologist Casey Jordan said.

Lombardo Tuesday afternoon said the shooter put a camera in a food service cart outside hotel room, possibly to see if police were coming.

The investigation

Paddock’s violent transformation has mystified everyone — his brother, investigators and the families he victimized.

Police had no prior knowledge of the gunman before the attack.

“I don’t know how it could have been prevented,” Lombardo said.

The massacre has no known link to overseas terrorism or terror groups, a US official with knowledge of the case said.

And authorities say it’s too early to tell whether the massacre was an act of domestic terrorism.

“We have to establish what his motivation was first,” Lombardo said.

For an act to be considered terrorism, it must appear that it was intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, or try to influence political change.

The gunman’s brother, Eric Paddock, said he was “completely befuddled” by his brother’s actions.

He said Stephen Paddock was an avid gambler who had “no history of violence. No history of anything — couldn’t give a s*** less about politics, religion, pointy hatted people, etc, etc. He just wanted to get a freaking royal flush.”

 

$3.5 million raised

Countless strangers have rallied to support victims, donating blood, money and supplies.

By Tuesday afternoon, a GoFundMe page started by a Clark County commissioner had raised more than $3.5 million.

“Funds will be used to provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of the horrific Las Vegas mass shooting,” county commission chair Steve Sisolak wrote.

Throngs of blood donors lined up for hours to help the wounded.

“This is America — people coming together, helping out.” Hector Salas tweeted. “Likely more than 1000 people waiting in line to donate blood.

Strangers also donated flights, housing, food and transportation to victims’ relatives coming to Las Vegas, Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell said.

“It takes the worst of America to also see the best of America,” said Mansholt, who survived the gunfire. “Everybody was helping each other.”

Editor’s Note: This post initially stated 59 people had been killed by Paddock. Officials clarified Tuesday night that the 59 people included Paddock.