James Wilkinson — Daily Mail Oct 5, 2017
The Las Vegas gunman who killed 58 civilians and injured hundreds more before killing himself on Sunday had originally hoped to survive his shooting and flee justice – and likely had an accomplice, it has emerged.
Stephen Paddock, 64, had planned to escape the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel after firing on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo revealed in a press conference Wednesday.
Lombardo declined to reveal why he believed that Paddock had an exit planned, but said he was confident in the claim – and said that his scheme was so elaborate that he would have to be a ‘superhero’ to pull it off alone. Several law enforcement sources told NBC that investigators are looking to speak with a woman who was seen with Paddock in his last days when his girlfriend was out of the country. They don’t know if she’s connected to the attack but want to speak with her to fill in their timeline of the lead-up to the attack.
Lombardo said Paddock lived a ‘secret life’ and ‘meticulously planned on the worst domestic attack in United States history.’
‘Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and lived a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood,’ Lombardo said.
He also announced that the count of people injured in the attack was lower than initially stated – 489, not 527 – due to confusion at hospitals
It wasn’t clear why Lombardo thought that Paddock had expected to survive his insane assault, which is the worst mass shooting in US history.
But he said that he believed the killer had ceased firing on the terrified civilians in order to figure out how he could escape, as SWAT teams closed in on his room.
He also noted that Paddock’s car contained two 50lbs of the explosive Tannerite – in two 20lb tins and 10 1lb tins – as well as 1,600 rounds of ammunition.
A journalist in the press pool asked whether Paddock had planned to use the vehicle to escape, but Lombardo declined to answer.
Lombardo also said he thought it was likely that Paddock had an accomplice, given the 23 rifles and piles of magazines in the room, the additional firearms in Paddock’s homes, and the electronic devices recovered from his Mesquite house.
Paddock would have had to have been a ‘superhero’ to pull it off, Lombardo said, before catching himself for using the word ‘hero’ to refer to a mass murderer.
‘Look at the weapon obtaining, the amounts of Tannerite available – do you think this was accomplished all on his own, face value?’ he said.
‘You gotta make the assumption he had to have help at some point, and we want to ensure that’s the answer.’
He continued: ‘Put two and two together: another residence in Reno with several firearms, okay, electronics, and everything else associated with it, large amounts of ammo, a place in Mesquite.