Late night on Sunday, October 1st, fifty-eight people were killed and another four hundred eighty-nine were injured after Stephen Paddock opened fire on an arena of 22,000 Jason Aldean concert-goers from the thirty-second floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Just prior to the police raid of his hotel room, Paddock committed suicide.
What do we know about Paddock?
According to Eric Paddock, the alleged gunman’s brother, Stephen Paddock was a multimillionaire real estate investor and avid gambler who participated in heavy gambling just prior to the massacre. His father was also Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, a bank robber who was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Paddock is also believed to be in a relationship with a Marilou Danley, a woman who he sent thousands of dollars to while she resided in the Philippines.
What was his motive?
Not much is known about Paddock’s motive for committing this recent atrocities. Eric Paddock has asserted that his brother had no involvement in any political or religious organizations, but despite this, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, asserting that Paddock is actually Abu Abdul Bar al-Amriki, and converted to Islam six months ago. Many were quick to dismiss this claim, but Rukmini Callimachi, the New York Times correspondent covering ISIS, has cautioned people against dismissing such a claim, as ISIS has rarely claimed responsibility for attacks they hadn’t had some involvement with.
What weapon did Paddock use?
Paddock has a wide assortment of weapons he purchased from surrounding states of Nevada, acquiring all guns legally, passing all background checks, and used a bump stock, an accessory that allows semi-automatic weapons to function at a rate nearly equivalent to an automatic rifle. Such a product was greenlit by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) under the Obama Administration for commercial sale. In response, The National Rifle Association (NRA) has issued a statement expressing their willingness to participate in a dialogue with the Trump Administration in order to review federal laws over bump stocks. Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo has left open the possibility that Paddock worked with some accomplice in order to collect his amalgamation of rifles.
Was Paddock planning any further attacks?
It has been reported that Paddock had plans to carry out further attacks, including car bombings. Paddock also booked a room at Chicago’s Blackstone hotel, which overlooked the downtown park which holds Lollapalooza, but never showed up to his reservation. Paddock also researched Boston hotels that overlooked Fenway park, but there is no indication he travelled to the city. All of this indicates that this attack was meticulously planned.
Investigation continues to conducted into the possible motive of Paddock, and Congressional leaders have continued to push for ever stricter gun control laws, but have released few specifics on what these laws would entail.
by Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief