Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock’s meticulously planned act of mass murder has left many open-ended questions about his motive. Yet the firearms and accessories amassed by Paddock — 23 found by police in his Mandalay Bay hotel room alone — unquestionably demonstrate his intent to kill. Boston’s Fox 25 TV station has acquired exclusive photos of some of the firearms that Paddock used to take out at least 59 people (while leaving 500 more injured), and anchor Jacqui Heinrich posted the above Facebook images of two of these weapons.
Heinrich also published a corresponding Twitter post, which prompted some skeptics to express disbelief at how these weapons could “sustain that rate of fire” heard throughout the massacre. Yet as others quickly pointed out, Paddock apparently used a so-called “bump-stock” device to convert his semi-automatic guns into fully-automatic weapons.
At Fox 25’s website, more photos show the ammo, bipod, optics, and hammer (for smashing out windows) that Paddock used while carrying out his attack. The hotel’s carpet and wallpaper are clearly visible in the pictures, which were taken on the 32nd floor after law enforcement stormed the room following an exhaustive search. Paddock, of course, is now dead (police say that he killed himself) and cannot speak to his motive, nor can those who knew him.
Yet the fact remains that a 64-year-old man with no criminal record amassed a vast arsenal of rifles, ammo, and explosives before plotting and executing the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The photos obtained by Fox 25 may not help solve the puzzle of “why,” but the starkness of the images will surely spur further discussion on the subject.