New reports suggest suspected Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock might have targeted two other major open-air music festivals prior to Sunday’s mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival.
According to a report from The Guardian, Clark County (Nevada) Sheriff Joseph Lombardo released more details on Wednesday regarding the 64-year-old Paddock, who is believed to have opened fire from his room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, as thousands reveled below at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on Sunday. Addressing media at a press conference, Lombardo said that Stephen Paddock used Airbnb to rent a luxury room overlooking the Life is Beautiful festival, another Las Vegas event that took place on the week before the ill-fated Route 91 Harvest event.
Lombardo added that he has evidence that Paddock might have wanted to survive Sunday’s Las Vegas shootings and escape the scene of the crime, but did not elaborate on the nature of the evidence.
It’s not sure why Stephen Paddock might have targeted the Life is Beautiful music festival, but Lombardo’s statement confirms two earlier reports, including one from NBC News, which cited unnamed law enforcement sources at the time. According to that report, Paddock was suspected of having rented several units at The Ogden, a 21-story tower in downtown Las Vegas. The north side of the building overlooked Life is Beautiful’s main stage, which showcased performances from the likes of Chance the Rapper, Lorde, Wiz Khalifa, and others.
The Daily Beast, which first reported on the rumors Stephen Paddock rented condo units overlooking the Life is Beautiful festival, quoted Ogden public affairs officer Melissa Warren, who said that she cannot confirm or deny any of the suspected gunman’s dealings. Likewise, festival organizer Justin Weniger told NBC News that there was an ongoing investigation, but declined to provide further comment.
Talking about the speculation that Stephen Paddock acted alone during Sunday’s mass shooting, Lombardo offered a new theory, hinting that the gunman might have had some assistance, specifically in procuring the high-powered weapons used in the massacre and the explosives that were later found in his car.
“Do you think this was all accomplished on his own? You’ve got to make the assumption he had to have some help at some point.”
A report from TMZ also suggested earlier today that Paddock might have also targeted another leading musical festival, Lollapalooza, and booked two “view rooms” at the hotel overlooking the event’s venue, with both checkout dates listed as August 6, the same day the festival ended. The publication’s sources claim that Paddock didn’t check in as scheduled, but the report suggests that the suspected gunman could have been planning a mass shooting at an open-air music festival much earlier than most people thought.
Regardless of whether he had any help or not, or whether Stephen Paddock wanted to target the Life is Beautiful and Lollapalooza festivals or not, Lombardo also made another point clear at Wednesday’s press conference — more time may be needed for authorities to understand the motives Paddock could have had for carrying out the shootings, which have killed at least 59 people and injured over 500 others, per the Los Angeles Times‘ latest live updates.
[Featured Image by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP Images]