Las Vegas Mass Shooting: Weapons, explosives recovered from gunman’s home, hotel room
Police recovered a huge cache of guns and explosives Monday from the Las Vegas hotel room and home of the man accused of killing at least 59 people and injuring over 500 in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
US officials reacted cautiously meanwhile to an Islamic State claim that Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, had carried out Sunday night`s massacre on the Las Vegas Strip on behalf of the jihadist group.
Police said Paddock, a retired accountant with no criminal record, smashed windows in his 32nd floor hotel room shortly after 10:00 pm and trained bursts of automatic weapons fire on thousands of people attending a country music concert below.
Investigators recovered at least 16 guns, including assault rifles, from Paddock`s room at the Mandalay Bay hotel, and another 18 firearms along with bomb-making materials at one of his two homes.
Country music star Jason Aldean rushed off stage when the shooting began, and concert-goers scattered in panic, frantically seeking cover as bullets rained down from above.
The Islamic State group claimed that Paddock was one of its “soldiers” but the FBI said it had found no such connection so far and the local sheriff described him as a lone “psychopath.”
Police said Paddock killed himself before a SWAT team breached his hotel room overlooking the country music venue.
Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said a security guard was shot in the leg as officers stormed the room where Paddock had been staying since September 28.
He said a search of Paddock`s house in Mesquite, Nevada, 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas, recovered “in excess of 18 additional firearms, some explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo.”
Lombardo said investigators had discovered several pounds of an explosive called tannerite in the Mesquite home, as well as ammonium nitrate, a type of fertilizer, in the gunman`s car.
The sheriff said the death toll had risen to 59, while 527 people had been injured.Lombardo said the authorities had found no manifesto or anything else to explain Paddock`s actions.
President Donald Trump denounced what he called “an act of pure evil” and said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.
But the White House pushed back at calls to reopen the US debate on tighter gun controls.
Lombardo said Paddock had apparently used some kind of hammer to smash the window of his hotel room before opening fire on the concert crowd of some 22,000 people.
IS described him as a “soldier of the caliphate,” saying he converted to Islam several months ago and went by the nom de guerre Abu Abdel Bar al-Amriki — “The American.”
The group provided no evidence to back up its claims and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had found no such link so far.
Paddock, according to his brother, was a high-stakes gambler and their bank-robber father was once on the FBI`s 10 Most Wanted list.
But Eric Paddock stressed that his brother led an otherwise normal life, doting on their mother.
Paddock had “no religious affiliation, no political affiliation” and was “not an avid gun guy at all,” his brother added.
The Las Vegas attack is the deadliest shooting in recent US history, exceeding the toll of 49 dead in an attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in June 2016.
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