Theories of a second shooter in the Las Vegas massacre are gaining steam online, thanks in large part to a viral video that claims to show two separate and distinct sets of gunfire during the mass shooting last week.
Though police have been investigating the shooting for more than a week, there is still little more known about the motives of shooter Stephen Paddock or exactly how he pulled off the attack. Authorities say Paddock took his own life as police were closing in on his Mandalay Bay hotel room, but not before his shooting killed 58 people and injured hundreds of others at a country music festival taking place below the hotel.
The confusing circumstances surrounding the shooting — combined with some controversial changes in the official story about the massacre — have given rise to conspiracy theories about the shooting. One viral video claims to show evidence that two people were firing separately into the crowd, with what appears to be two distinct sounds of gunfire.
There are many pushing the conspiracy theory of a second Las Vegas shooter, including one of the best-known conspiracy theorists, television and radio host Alex Jones.
Jones claims that Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock could not have acted alone, and shared his own video claiming to show evidence of a second shooter. In a video about the theory, Jones claims that the shooting may have been a left-wing plot to kick off a “war with the right,” Newsweek noted.
“Could Stephen Paddock, the lone Vegas shooter, have been a patsy to kick off the left’s war with the right in the streets of America and to simultaneously roll in the Rapiscan naked body scanners that profit former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, George Soros and a handful of lobbyists connected to the management of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino?” Jones said.
But others have pointed out that the videos allegedly showing a second Las Vegas shooter are actually just showing one set of gunfire. Another viral video from the YouTube channel Gun Runnerz explained that high-powered rifles like the ones Paddock used create two distinct sounds — the actual gunfire, and the supersonic crack when the bullet passes the sound barrier. That phenomena made it sound as if there were two guns firing, the channel noted.
Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo also reiterated this week that there is no evidence of a second shooter in Las Vegas, KDVR noted. But the confusion from officials regarding the shooting has also helped give rise to the conspiracy theories. Local officials were slow to release details, and this week made what many saw as a major correction to the official account of events. Police had initially said that security guard Jesus Campos stopped the massacre when he confronted Stephen Paddock, but now said the security guard had been shot a full six minutes before the mass shooting started, raising questions about why it took police so long to respond to the room.
[Featured Image by David Becker/Getty Images]