Grasshoppers take Vegas by swarm, disrupting weather radar, tourism

FILE PHOTO: A grasshopper lands on a window in Encinitas, California, U.S. October 29,2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) – Swarms of grasshoppers have descended upon America’s Sin City in unusual abundance this week, disrupting weather radars, deterring tourists and invoking hysteria on social media.

The clouds of buzzing insects, whose migration through the Las Vegas Valley scientists say is the result of a wetter-than-normal winter, were big enough that the National Weather Service detected them on its radar.

“Radar analysis suggests most of these echoes are biological targets. This typically includes birds, bats, and bugs, and most likely in our case…grasshoppers,” the National Weather Service in Las Vegas said on Friday on Twitter.

Such migrations occur every few years and should not cause alarm since the insects are not dangerous, Jeff Knight, state entomologist for the Nevada Department of Agriculture, said on Thursday at a news conference.

Some locals were not placated.

“This is the wildest thing in nature I’ve ever seen,” one resident, Caitlin Sparks, wrote on Twitter on Sunday, posting a photograph of a street lamp illuminating a night sky filled with grasshoppers.

Attracted to ultra-violet light, the insects have been clustering around the city’s brightly lit tourist district, a concentration of resort hotels and casinos along The Strip. The Luxor Sky Beam, a pillar of light that rises from the Luxor Hotel, has attracted huge swarms at night, according to videos posted to Twitter.

The Best Western Plus Casino Royale on the Strip shut off its lights on Friday and Saturday to avoid attracting the bugs, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

South Carolina capital could be first U.S. city to ban gun bump stocks

An example of a bump stock that attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing rate is seen at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, U.S. on October 4, 2017.

By Harriet McLeod

(Reuters) – South Carolina’s capital on Tuesday could become the first U.S. city to ban the use of bump stocks, a gun accessory that has drawn national scrutiny after being found among the Las Vegas mass shooter’s arsenal of weapons in the October rampage.

Last month, Massachusetts became the first state to pass a law that explicitly bans bump stocks.

Steve Benjamin, the mayor of Columbia, the South Carolina capital, said the city council was expected in a vote on Tuesday night to approve an ordinance barring the devices, which allow semiautomatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute like fully automatic machine guns.

“One of the common refrains that you hear, whether it was in Texas or Vegas or Sandy Hook, is that a good guy with a gun could have stopped the carnage,” Benjamin, a Democrat, said in a phone interview on Monday. “It’s time for the good guys with guns to begin to pass some really good policy.”

Authorities said Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had 12 rifles outfitted with bump stocks in the hotel room where he launched his attack on an outdoor concert, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Since then several states and cities have proposed measures outlawing or restricting the attachments, and the U.S. Justice Department said earlier this month it was considering a ban on certain bump stocks.

California and New York do not prohibit bump stocks outright, but the devices fall under the definition of an automatic weapon, which are illegal in those states, according to Anne Teigen, who covers firearm legislation for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some other states and the District of Columbia have assault weapons bans that could include bump stocks.

“We are not aware of any cities that have passed ordinancesbanning bump stocks,” said Tom Martin, a spokesman for the National League of Cities.

In Columbia, four of the council’s six members approved the city’s proposed ordinance on a first reading earlier this month.

The measure also would ban the use of other gun attachments that allow rifles to fire faster. Owners would be required to keep them stored separately from any weapon.

Trigger-enhancing devices are not gun parts, gun components, weapons or ammunition, which state law prohibits cities from regulating, Benjamin said.

The mayor, who has a background in law enforcement and said he owns guns, said the measure had drawn support from local police and council members who support the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting gun ownership rights.

(Reporting by Harriet McLeod in Charleston, South Carolina; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Leslie Adler)

Texas gunman’s in-laws sometimes attended church, sheriff says

The playground at the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017.

By Jon Herskovitz and Lisa Maria Garcia

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (Reuters) – A man thrown out of the U.S. Air Force for beating his wife and child shot and killed 26 people in a Texas church where his in-laws had sometimes worshipped before shooting himself, officials said on Monday, in the latest in a string of U.S. mass shootings.

The gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, walked into the white-steepled First Baptist Church in rural Sutherland Springs carrying an assault rifle and wearing black tactical gear, then opened fire during a Sunday prayer service. He wounded at least 20 others, officials said.

After he left the church, two local residents, one of whom was armed, chased him in their vehicles and exchanged gunfire, and Kelley crashed his car and shot himself, dying of his wounds, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told CBS News in an interview on Monday morning.

“At this time we believe that he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Tackitt said.

Tackitt said Kelley’s in-laws sometimes attended services at First Baptist, which was cordoned off by yellow crime-scene tape on Monday morning.

“I heard that they attended church from time to time,” Tackitt told Reuters. “Not on a regular basis.”

The attack came a little more than a month after a gunman killed 58 people in Las Vegas in the deadliest shooting by a sole gunman in U.S. history.

The initial death toll matched the fatalities at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a man shot and killed 26 children and educators and his mother before taking his own life in December 2012. Those attacks now stand as the fourth deadliest by a single gunman in the United States.

 

‘POWDER KEG’

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott told CBS there was evidence that Kelley had mental health problems and that he had been denied a Texas gun permit.

“It’s clear this is a person who had violent tendencies, who had some challenges, and someone who was a powder keg, seeming waiting to go off,” Abbott said.

Abbott and other Republican leaders were quick to say that the attack did not influence their support of gun ownership by U.S. citizens – the right to bear arms protected under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“This isn’t a guns situation. I mean we could go into it but it’s a little bit soon to go into it,” U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters while on trip to Asia. “But fortunately somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise … it would have been much worse. But this is a mental health problem at the highest level.”

Democrats renewed their call to restrict gun ownership following the attack.

“How many more people must die at churches or concerts or schools before we stop letting the @NRA control this country’s gun policies,” Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter.

The victims in Sutherland Springs, a community of fewer than 400 people, located about 40 miles (65 km) east of San Antonio, included the 14-year-old daughter of church pastor Frank Pomeroy, the family told several television stations.

A woman prays after a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 5, 2017. Nick Wagner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN via REUTERS

A woman prays after a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 5, 2017. Nick Wagner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN via REUTERS

One couple, Joe and Claryce Holcombe, told the Washington Post they lost eight extended family members, including a pregnant granddaughter-in-law and three of her children.

In rural areas like Sutherland Springs, gun ownership is a part of life and the state’s Republican leaders for years have balked at gun control, arguing that more firearms among responsible owners make the state safer.

John Stiles, a 76-year-old retired U.S. Navy veteran, said he heard the shots from his home about 150 yards (137 m) from the church.

“The wind was blowing and there was a bang, bang, bang. It was the gunshots,” Stiles said. “My wife and I were looking for a peaceful and quiet place when we moved here but now that hasn’t worked out.”

Kelley served in its Logistics Readiness unit at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge in 2014, according to the U.S. Air Force.

Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 on charges of assaulting his wife and child, and given a bad-conduct discharge, confinement for 12 months and a reduction in rank, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.

Kelley’s Facebook page has been deleted, but cached photos show a profile picture where he appeared with two small children. He also posted a photo of what appeared to be an assault rifle, writing a post that read: “She’s a bad bitch.”

 

(Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, Phil Stewart in Washington, and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Jeffrey Benkoe)

 

Las Vegas hotel guard says he heard drilling, then hail of bullets

FILE PHOTO: A candlelight vigil is pictured on the Las Vegas strip following a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. Picture taken October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

By Ian Simpson

(Reuters) – A hotel security guard wounded by the Las Vegas gunman who killed 58 people told a U.S. television talk show on Wednesday that he heard drilling before the shooter began spraying a hallway with hundreds of rapid-fire rounds.

Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos, the first person to confront gunman Stephen Paddock, gave “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” his first public account of how he responded to the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Contradictory statements from police and the hotel about what time Campos arrived at Paddock’s room have raised questions about the police response. Campos himself came under increased scrutiny last week after he skipped out on scheduled television interviews.

The guard told DeGeneres he had been called to check on an open stairwell door near Paddock’s suite on the 32nd floor. He found it was blocked by a metal bracket, and he called hotel security to send up a building engineer.

“At that time I heard what I assumed was drilling sounds and I believed that they were in the area working somehow,” said Campos, who was joined for the interview by the engineer, Stephen Schuck.

Campos said he took cover when Paddock began shooting from behind the door.

“I felt a burning sensation. I went to go lift my pant leg up and I saw the blood. That’s when I called it in on my radio that shots have been fired,” he said.

After he was hit, Campos said, he used his cellphone to call the hotel’s security desk in order to keep the emergency radio frequencies clear.

When Schuck arrived on the 32nd floor, Campos “leaned out and he said, ‘Take cover! Take cover!’ and yelled at me,” Schuck said. “Within milliseconds, if he didn’t say that, I would have got hit.”

Police have said that Paddock, a 64-year-old avid gambler, fatally shot himself before they entered the room. He wounded almost 550 people when he opened fire on an outdoor concert from his window, according to authorities, and strafed the hotel hallway with about 200 bullets.

Las Vegas police on Friday presented a third version of the timeline for the shooting that showed they responded immediately to the gunfire, and that Paddock shot Campos at about the same time he opened fire on concertgoers.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; editing by Daniel Wallis and G Crosse)

Las Vegas police say no delay in massacre response

Las Vegas police say no delay in massacre response

(Reuters) – Las Vegas police presented a third version on Friday of the timeline of events for the Las Vegas gunman who killed 58 people and himself, saying they responded immediately to the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, who oversees the Las Vegas police department, told reporters that gunman Stephen Paddock shot at Mandalay Bay hotel security guard Jesus Campos outside his room on Oct. 1 at about the same time he opened fire on the more than 20,000 concertgoers at an outdoor venue.

Previously, police said that Paddock shot Campos six minutes before he started firing on the crowd, raising questions as to whether police and hotel security could have acted faster to prevent casualties in the attack.

“Nobody is attempting to hide anything. The dynamics and the size of the investigation require us to go through voluminous amounts of information in order to draw an accurate picture,” Lombardo said of the changing timeline.

The police account is similar to one given on Thursday by the hotel operator MGM Resorts International <MGM.N>, which said in a statement that Paddock opened fire on Campos and the crowd at the same time or within 40 seconds.

Campos was shot in the leg when Paddock strafed the hallway with about 200 bullets, police said.

Paddock, who placed cameras in the hotel hallway to monitor activity, also injured 546 people before killing himself. No motive for the attack has been made public.

The third timeline could affect claims brought by some victims that depend on the hotel’s allegedly delayed response after Campos was shot. One attorney told Reuters MGM may have acted quickly but questioned whether “reasonable precautions” were in place.

Most of the wounded have been discharged from hospitals, but 45 were still hospitalized, some with critical injuries, Lombardo said.

Lombardo said law enforcement had acted heroically on the night of the attack and that he was angered by the criticism his department has received over its investigation.

“In the public space, the word incompetence has been brought forward and I am absolutely offended with that characterization,” he said.

Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Las Vegas Federal Bureau of Investigation office, said there was no information Paddock was a member of an extremist group. Rouse added the FBI has hundreds of agents on the case working with local law enforcement.

“Nothing will be overlooked. We have made significant progress,” Rouse said. Neither Lombardo nor Rouse took questions.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit and Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas and Cynthia Osterman)

Las Vegas gunman fired on guard and crowd at about same time: MGM

The site of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting is seen outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

By Keith Coffman

(Reuters) – The owner of the hotel where a gunman carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history on Thursday provided a new version of the timeline, suggesting there was no time for hotel staff to warn police.

Stephen Paddock opened fire on Mandalay Bay hotel security guard Jesus Campos and the crowd attending an outdoor concert nearby at the same time, or within 40 seconds of each other, MGM Resorts International <MGM.N> said in a statement.

Police have still not determined a motive for the shooting.

MGM’s account differed from the updated timeline Las Vegas police provided on Monday, when they said Campos had been shot six minutes before Paddock opened fire on the crowd from his 32nd-floor suite and killed 58 people on Oct. 1. MGM said on Tuesday the revised police timeline might not be accurate.

A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department spokesman, Officer Larry Hadfield, said the police would have no immediate comment on the hotel’s latest statement. The Las Vegas office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation could not immediately be reached for comment.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, who oversees the Las Vegas police department, on Wednesday defended the speed of the police response in an interview with the Las Vegas CBS television affiliate.

“No matter what that timeline was, the response was as quick as possible. I don’t think the response could have been any faster,” Lombardo said in a video posted on the station’s LasVegasNow.com website.

The revised timeline police provided on Monday raised new questions, including why Paddock ceased firing on concert-goers once he began, and whether hotel security and police coordinated as well as first believed.

MGM said the 9:59 p.m. time that police said is when Campos was shot was derived from a hotel report created manually after the fact without the benefit of information the hotel now has.

“We are now confident that the time stated in this report is not accurate,” MGM said. “We know that shots were being fired at the festival lot at the same time as, or within 40 seconds after, the time Jesus Campos first reported that shots were fired over the radio.”

Las Vegas police officers were with armed hotel security officers in the building when Campos, who was checking an open-door alarm also on the 32nd floor, first reported that shots were fired over the radio, MGM said. Both groups immediately responded to the 32nd floor.

The police have said they assembled a SWAT team and burst into Paddock’s room to find him dead 81 minutes after the shooting began.

“We will continue to work with law enforcement as we have from the first moments of this tragedy as they work toward developing an accurate timeline,” MGM said.

MGM’s new timeline is a blow to lawyers representing some of the victims, whose claims depend heavily on the hotel’s allegedly delayed response following the shooting of Campos. A lawsuit filed in Nevada state court on Tuesday on behalf of a California woman injured in the shooting alleged the hotel acted negligently by responding too late.

Neama Rahmani, a Los Angeles lawyer representing some of the victims, said in an email on Thursday that MGM may have acted quickly, “but the question of whether reasonable precautions were in place remains.”

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Additional reporting by Tina Bellon in New York; Writing by Ben Klayman,; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)

Las Vegas police chief says response to gunman came ‘as quick as possible’

FILE PHOTO - Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo responds to a question during a media briefing at the Las Vegas Metro Police headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 3, 2017. Aaron Rouse, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Las Vegas Division, looks on at right. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

(Reuters) – Las Vegas police are getting closer to finding an explanation for why a gunman carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the city’s police chief said on Wednesday, as he defended the speed of the department’s response to the massacre.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, who oversees the police department, told the Las Vegas CBS television affiliate in an interview that police officials were not trying to cover anything up a day after revising the timeline for the shooting.

The revision on Monday showed hotel security was aware of a gunman six minutes before he started firing into a crowd of more than 20,000 people, killing 58. The revised timeline raised new questions, including why gunman Stephen Paddock ceased firing on concertgoers once he began, and whether hotel security and police coordinated as well as first believed.

“No matter what that timeline was, the response was as quick as possible. I don’t think the response could have been any faster,” Lombardo said in a video posted on the station’s LasVegasNow.com website.

Paddock, 64, injured hundreds of people attending a music festival in a hail of bullets fired from the windows of his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. He then shot himself to death before police stormed his room.

Lombardo on Monday said Paddock shot a hotel security guard Jesus Campos, who was checking on an open-door fire alarm on the same floor, six minutes before beginning to fire on the crowd.

Officials initially said Paddock, who had placed hidden cameras outside the room to monitor activity, first fired into the concert and then stopped shooting after strafing the hotel hallway through the doorway of his room when Campos was apparently detected by the gunman.

Earlier police accounts also said a wounded Campos helped direct police to the room occupied by Paddock, who by then had quit firing on concertgoers. Lombardo originally said police officers reached the 32nd floor within 12 minutes of the first reports of the attack.

“We will have a pretty good assessment of the reasons why, but it is going to take time,” he said, adding “there are going to be questions that will never be answered.”

Las Vegas police officials were not immediately available for comment.

MGM Resorts International <MGM.N>, which owns the Mandalay Bay, questioned the latest chronology from police, saying in a statement on Tuesday that it may not be accurate.

ABC News reported on Wednesday the gunman’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, has been put on a U.S. government watch list that will notify authorities if she attempts to leave the country on a commercial airline flight.

Danley, 62, has been called a “person of interest” in the case. Her lawyer said she had no inkling of Paddock’s plans.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; editing by G Crosse)

New timeline in Vegas shooting raises questions on police response

The site of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting is seen outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

By Tim Reid and Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – Las Vegas police faced new questions on Tuesday over their response to last week’s deadly mass shooting, after releasing a revised chronology in which the gunman shot a security officer before, not after, opening fire from his high-rise hotel window.

The updated timeline for the bloodiest case of gun violence in recent U.S. history raised new uncertainty over why Stephen Paddock ceased firing on concertgoers once he began, and whether hotel security and police coordinated as well as first believed.

Aden Ocampo-Gomez, spokesman of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, declined to comment on the revised chronology, saying the agency would discuss the implications later.

Paddock, 64, killed 58 people and injured hundreds in a hail of bullets from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, overlooking a music festival, and then shot himself to death before police could storm his room.

Nine days later, his motive remains a mystery.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, who oversees the police department, on Monday said Paddock shot a hotel security guard six minutes before beginning to fire on the crowd. By coincidence, the security officer, Jesus Campos, had been sent to check an open-door alarm on the same floor.

Officials initially said Paddock began raining gunfire onto the concert first, then stopped shooting after strafing the 32nd-floor hallway through the doorway of his room, when Campos was apparently detected via security cameras the gunman had set up outside his suite.

Earlier police accounts said a wounded Campos helped direct police to the room occupied by Paddock, who had quit firing on concertgoers by then. Lombardo originally said police officers reached the 32nd floor within 12 minutes of the first reports of the attack.

That sequence of events was changed in Monday’s new timeline issued by Lombardo.

“What we have learned is (the security guard) was encountered by the suspect prior to his shooting to the outside world,” Lombardo said.

Lombardo did not address whether the mass shooting could have been prevented, or halted sooner, based on the new chronology, but said it remained unclear why Paddock stopped firing on the concert when he did.

In an active shooter situation, response time can be as fast as three minutes, said Sid Heal, a retired Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department commander and tactical expert.

He questioned why it took police as long as it did to reach the room, if hotel security had called them immediately.

“Someone needs to account for those minutes,” he added.

Nevada Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison acknowledged to CNN on Tuesday that Paddock did not stop firing because of the guard, Jesus Campos, as had been assumed initially.

Campos immediately alerted the hotel’s in-house security team after he was shot at 9:59 p.m., six minutes before Paddock first opened fire on the concert, according to Lombardo.

But police were not aware Campos had been shot until they met him in the hallway, Lombardo said on Monday. The sheriff has estimated the time of their rendezvous at 10:18 p.m., three minutes after Paddock had stopped firing.

Rather than storm Paddock’s suite immediately, police paused to assemble their SWAT team and burst into his room to find him dead 81 minutes after the shooting began, according to the original account.

Protocol for Las Vegas hotels and casinos is to barricade the corridor where a shooting takes place and wait for police to arrive, said David Shepherd, a security expert who advises Las Vegas police and who ran the security team at the Venetian hotel on the Vegas Strip for eight years.

Police are trained to wait and negotiate with a shooter, rather than storm the room immediately, he said. Initial reports of multiple shooters at several hotels that night would also have confused police, he added.

“One of the biggest priorities is not to lose the life of a police officer,” Shepherd said by telephone. “So in those six minutes, it is highly unlikely police would have stormed that room.”

Police and security officers acted as quickly as possible in the circumstances, said David Hickey, the president of the union that represents Campos, based on what he had heard.

Officials with MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay, questioned the latest chronology from police.

“We cannot be certain about the most recent timeline that has been communicated publicly, and we believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate,” the company said in a statement late on Tuesday.

A hat rests on flowers in a makeshift memorial during a vigil marking the one-week anniversary of the October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada U.S. October 8, 2017. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

A hat rests on flowers in a makeshift memorial during a vigil marking the one-week anniversary of the October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada U.S. October 8, 2017. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

(Reporting by Tim Reid, Alex Dobuzinskis and Keith Coffman; Writing by Ben Klayman; Editing by David Gregorio and Clarence Fernandez)

Las Vegas gunman fired on security guard before mass shooting

The "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign is surrounded by flowers and items, left after the October 1 mass shooting, in Las Vegas, Nevada U.S. October 9, 2017. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – The Las Vegas gunman opened fire on a security guard six minutes before he rained down bullets on a crowd and killed 58 people, officials said on Monday in a change to the timeline of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, was seen on numerous occasions in Las Vegas without any person accompanying him and he gambled the night before the shooting, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a news conference. He killed himself after the attack.

“This individual purposely hid his actions leading up to this event, and it is difficult for us to find the answers,” said Lombardo, who said he was frustrated with the speed of the investigation.

Paddock sprayed an outdoor concert with bursts of gunfire from high above in a Las Vegas hotel window on Oct. 1, killing 58 and wounding hundreds more, before shooting himself.

“In coordination with the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit, a comprehensive picture is being drawn as to the suspect’s mental state and currently we do not believe there is one particular event in the suspect’s life for us to key on,” Lombardo said.

There is no indication anyone other than Paddock fired on the crowd, Lombardo said, adding investigators are talking to family members and the girlfriend of the gunman.

Paddock shot and wounded a security guard who came to his floor at the Mandalay Bay hotel to investigate an open door down near Paddock’s suite, Lombardo said, providing new details on what occurred immediately before the mass shooting.

The security guard, Jesus Campos, was struck in the leg as the gunman, from behind his door, shot into the hallway on the 32nd floor. Paddock apparently detected Campos via surveillance cameras he set up outside his hotel suite, police have said.

Paddock shot the guard at 9:59 p.m. local time, Lombardo said, shortly before raining down bullets on the Route 91 Harvest festival in an attack that began at 10:05 p.m. and lasted 10 minutes.

Police officers found Campos when they arrived on the floor.

Paddock had a document in the room with him that contained numbers, Lombardo said, adding he could not immediately say what purpose the figures served.

Las Vegas police officer David Newton told CBS News program “60 Minutes” on Sunday that he entered the room and saw a note on the shooter’s nightstand with numbers that appeared to be designed to help his aim.

It was unclear why Paddock stopped firing at the crowd, suggesting he may have initially planned to escape, Lombardo said.

He shot at jet fuel tanks at McCarran International Airport and had protective gear in the hotel suite and explosives in his parked car, Lombardo said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen and Joseph Ax in New York and Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Jonathan Oatis)

Police, FBI seek public’s help in finding motive behind Las Vegas massacre

Police, FBI seek public's help in finding motive behind Las Vegas massacre

By Sharon Bernstein

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Police and FBI agents, chasing down more than 1,000 dead-end leads since a gunman killed 58 people in Las Vegas, are seeking more help from the public in solving the central mystery of their investigation – the shooter’s motive.

Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said investigators remain largely in the dark about what drove retired real estate investor and high-stakes gambler Stephen Paddock to carry out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

“We have looked at everything, literally, to include the suspect’s personal life, any political affiliation, his social behaviors, economic situation, any potential radicalization,” McMahill told reporters late on Friday.

“We have been down each and every single one of these paths, trying to determine why, to determine who else may have known of these plans.”

McMahill acknowledged that Islamic State had repeatedly claimed responsibility for the attack, but said investigators had uncovered “no nexus” between the Mideast-based militant group and Paddock.

In an unusual bid to cast a wider net for tips, the FBI and police have arranged with communications company Clear Channel to post billboards around Las Vegas urging citizens to come forward with any information they believe might help investigators.

The billboards will bear the slogan, “If you know something, say something,” and carry a toll-free number to an FBI hotline, said Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Las Vegas FBI office.

The public appeal came a day before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was slated to join Mayor Carolyn Goodman and other local leaders at a City Hall commemoration for victims of the shooting, following a prayer walk through the city. President Donald Trump paid a visit to Las Vegas earlier in the week.

Paddock, 64, unleashed a torrent of gunfire onto an outdoor music festival from the windows of his 32nd-floor hotel suite overlooking the concert on Sunday night, then shot himself to death before police stormed his room.

In addition to the 58 people who died, nearly 500 were injured, some by gunfire, some trampled or otherwise hurt while running for cover.

Unlike so many other perpetrators of deadly mass shootings before him, Paddock left behind no suicide note, no manifesto, no recordings and no messages on social media pointing to his intent, according to police.

McMahill said investigators remained certain Paddock acted alone in the shooting. But police have said they suspect he had help before the killings, based on the large number of guns, ammunition and explosives found in the hotel suite, his home, his car and a second home searched in Reno.

Authorities have said that 12 of the weapons recovered from Paddock’s hotel suite were equipped with so-called bump-stock devices that enable semi-automatic rifles to be operated as if they were fully automatic machine-guns.

Paddock’s ability to fire hundreds of rounds per minute over the course of his 10-minute shooting spree was a major factor in the high casualty count, police said.

The bloodshed might have lasted longer, with greater loss of life, but for a hotel security officer who was sent to check an open-door alarm on the 32nd floor, and discovered the gunman’s whereabouts after the shooting started, McMahill said.

The security officer, Jesus Campos, was struck in the leg as the gunman strafed the hallway with gunfire from behind his door, apparently having detected Campos via surveillance cameras Paddock set up outside his hotel suite.

Campos, though wounded, alerted the hotel’s dispatch, “which was absolutely critical to us knowing the location as well as advising the responding officers as they arrived on that 32nd floor,” McMahill said. “He’s an absolute hero.”

In a new disclosure, authorities said two bullets Paddock fired struck a large jet fuel storage tank at the edge of the city’s main airport, about a block from the concert grounds, indicating an apparent attempt by the gunman to create even greater havoc.

There was no explosion or fire from the two rounds, one of which penetrated the tank, as jet fuel in storage is almost impossible to ignite with gunshots, airport officials said on Friday.

Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62, was questioned by the FBI on Wednesday and said in a statement she never had any inkling of Paddock’s plans.

Danley, who returned late on Tuesday from a family visit to the Philippines, is regarded by investigators as a “person of interest.” The Australian citizen of Filipino heritage is cooperating fully with authorities, her lawyer said.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage and Sharon Bernstein in Las Vegas; additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Richard Cowan, Doina Chiacu, Amanda Becker and Jeff Mason in Washington, Chris Kenning in Chicago, Karen Freifeld and Jonathan Allen in New York, Keith Coffman in Denver and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Scott Malone and Steve Gorman; Editing by Andrew Hay/Jeremy Gaunt)