At first blush, it might seem baffling that Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, told reporters that she had absolutely no warning that he was plotting the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. However, investigators have uncovered some startling new details about Paddock’s extensive preparations. Although Paddock’s motive remains a mystery, police already knew that he meticulously plotted his attack. However, it’s Paddock’s enormous arsenal of weaponry that is currently yielding the most clues. Here are the newest developments of note:
- A ‘Secret Life’ Of Long-Running Preparations: Searches of Paddock’s homes (within four states) have yielded around 50 firearms, along with thousands of rounds of ammo and some explosives. In a news briefing, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo revealed that investigators now know that Paddock covertly gathered his stashes over a very long period of time. Lombardo stated, “What we know is that Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and living a secret life.” The vast majority of the associated acts apparently went undetected by relatives, neighbors, and even his girlfriend.
- A Major Purchase And The Possibility Of “Help”: Investigators further discovered a large purchase — 30 guns — made by Paddock in October 2016. They’re looking into whether a stressful event may have prompted this action. Sheriff Lombardo also tossed out the possibility that Paddock received aid from somebody over the years: “You have to make an assumption that he had some help at some point.” (However, the has FBI cautioned the sheriff against such speculation.) Police still say that Paddock acted alone during the massacre, and they found evidence that he planned for an escape before leaving a note and taking his own life.
- He Paid Cash For A Home And Went To Privacy Extremes: Records show that Paddock paid $369,022 in cash for a home in Sun City, Arizona. The home sat on atop hill that provided for sweeping visuals, but Paddock quickly set about building a large fence to obscure views both into and out of the property. One neighbor told investigators that Paddock argued after neighbors complained about the oddity: “I don’t want to be looking at people, and I don’t want people looking at me.” Real estate agents also told CNN that Paddock listed his occupation as “gambling,” which he stated involved about $1 million per year in table transactions.
- More “Bump Stocks” Than Previously Believed: Almost immediately after the shooting, investigators knew that Paddock must have used bump-stock devices that would allow his semi-automatic weapons to fire like automatic ones. Police now say that half of Paddock’s 50-firearm collection was present in his Mandalay Bay hotel suite. Further, a dozen of those guns were fitted with the transformative devices.
And the digging shall continue. Investigators haven’t yet revealed much about Paddock’s hotel-room letter, but they say that it was not styled as a “suicide note.” Perhaps in the days and weeks to come, even more evidence will surface and point toward a motive for the massacre.