LAS VEGAS – Law enforcement officials puzzled on Tuesday over what motivated a retiree with no criminal record to assemble an arsenal in a high-rise Las Vegas hotel and rain gunfire onto a outdoor concert, killing at least 59 people.
The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, ended Sunday night’s shooting spree, the deadliest in modern U.S. history, by killing himself. He left an arsenal of 42 guns but no clear clues as to why he staged the attack on a crowd of 20,000 from a 32nd-floor window of the Mandalay Bay hotel. More than 500 people were injured, some trampled.
Federal, state and local investigators have found no evidence that Paddock, 64, had even incidental contacts with foreign or domestic extremist groups, and reviews of his history show no underlying pattern of lawbreaking or hate speech, a senior U.S. homeland security official said on Tuesday.
“We cannot even rule out mental illness or some form of brain damage, although there’s no evidence of that, either,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the probe.
President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday that Paddock had been “a sick man, a demented man.” He declined to answer a question about whether he considered the attack an act of domestic terrorism.
U.S. officials discounted a claim of responsibility by the Islamic State militant group and said they believed Paddock acted alone.
Although police said they had no other suspects, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said investigators wanted to talk with Paddock’s girlfriend and live-in companion, Marilou Danley, who he said was traveling abroad, possibly in Tokyo.
The closest Paddock appeared to have ever come to a brush with the law was a traffic infraction, authorities said.