While investigators soon after the October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas suggested that gunman Stephen Paddock may have been suffering from some form of mental illness or even a brain abnormality that drove him to open fire on a concert going crowd, killing 58 people and wounding neatly 600 more, an autopsy conducted on the mass killer showed no support for that police theory, according to new reports out of Las Vegas.
Despite speculation that Paddock may have been afflicted by a severe mental illness, police now describe the mass shooting attack on the country music crowd of 22,000 as “meticulously planned,” according to an ABC News report on Thursday.
Not only had Paddock jotted down precise mathematical calculations of wind speeds, bullet trajectory, and shooting distance on a piece of paper found in his hotel suite, in order to maximize the accuracy of his firing, he had jammed doors leading to the 32nd floor, apparently in order to delay any response by authorities to his shooting spree, the ABC report said. In addition, cops found gas masks and other related equipment that police say indicated he was prepared for a lengthy siege with authorities, followed by his escape.
But Paddock apparently committed suicide before police could break into his hotel suite.
According to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, however, when medical examiners performing an autopsy on Paddock checked the shooter’s brain, they found no evidence of tumors or other abnormalities that might have shed light on any conditions suffered by Paddock that could have motivated his horrific crime, the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper reported.
Lombardo did not indicate, however, the extent to which Paddock’s brain was damaged when he committed suicide. A photo claimed to be that of Paddock’s dead body that has circulated online showed the gunman with what appeared to be a massive head wound. Police have reportedly confirmed the authenticity of that and other leaked photos taken inside Paddock’s Mandalay Bay hotel suite.
But even as the mystery around Paddock’s possible motives for becoming the worst known one-day mass killer in American history only grew deeper, new and disturbing questions emerged about the police response time to the shooting, which Paddock carried out through windows that he smashed on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel on the famed Las Vegas Strip.
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, security guard Jesus Campos who, police now say, was shot by Paddock a full six minutes before the human began shooting out the hotel windows, radioed in a report of the gunman to Mandalay Bay security before the massacre began.
A maintenance worker also trapped on the 32nd floor as Paddock unleashed about 200 rounds into the hotel corridor also called in a report of a shooter while Paddock was still shooting into the hallway, according to a report in the Nevada Deseret News. Audio of the call from worker Steven Shuck can be heard in the following ABC News video report, below. Gunfire is audible during Shuck’s call.
Despite the advance warnings, police did not show up on the 32nd floor until 10:17 p.m., two minutes after Paddock had, for reasons unknown, ended his 10-minute shooting spree, according to the Los Angeles Times report. With the six-minute time lag between Paddock’s attack on Campos and when he started shooting out the hotel windows, police apparently took at least 18 minutes to get to Paddock’s floor after calls were placed reporting a gunman there.
The Clark County Sheriff also revealed that Paddock checked in to the Mandalay Bay on September 25, contrary to earlier reports that he checked in on September 28. But he stayed in a different room — one “comped,” that is, provided for free by the hotel — for those first three days. On September 28 he moved to a new suite, one he paid for out of his own funds, the sheriff said.
[Featured Image by John Locher/AP Images]