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Tipsheet

If That Was the Vegas Shooter's Motive, What Were Local Police/FBI Doing All This Time?

Six years ago, Stephen Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas and committed the deadliest mass shooting in American history. He murdered over 60 people and injured nearly 900 more before committing suicide. An array of weapons was found inside his suite, which overlooked Route 91 Harvest country music festival, the target for his rampage. Paddock was successful in real estate and known to casinos; he was a high roller. This was a carefully planned mass shooting, with Paddock researching locations that hosted concert events. He settled on Vegas and Route 91. On September 25, 2017, Paddock checked into Mandalay Bay with multiple bags. He would gamble and converse with the staff, who described their interactions as normal. Nothing seemed off about Mr. Paddock. In the days leading up to the October 1 attack, Paddock brought more suitcases and bags to his room, the weapons and ammunition used in this heinous attack. 

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In the aftermath, the Trump administration signed off on a bump-stock ban that went into effect in 2018. It’s been challenged in the courts. We never got a solid motive for Paddock’s rampage, only a lot of conjecture. Every avenue regarding this investigation wound up being a dead end. For years, we knew nothing about Paddock’s motivations for committing mass murder until now, but skepticism abounds as the new theory is that the casinos were mistreating him. After nearly a decade of investigating, Paddock committed the worst mass shooting by a single person in US history because he felt disrespected at the gambling tables. For lack of a better term, this is quite anti-climactic. Authorities still maintain their official position that no motive could be determined to satisfy why Paddock committed this crime. Yet, if this is one step closer to the truth, what were the FBI and local law enforcement doing all this time? This was the big reveal: casino mistreatment (via Associated Press):

The high-stakes gambler who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern America, killing 60 and injuring hundreds more in Las Vegas, was apparently angry over how the casinos were treating him despite his high-roller status, according to a fellow gambler. 

An FBI interview with the gunman’s fellow gambler is detailed in hundreds of pages of documents made public this week. The gambler, whose name is redacted in the documents, said he believed the stress could have easily caused gunman Stephen Paddock “to snap.” Paddock, 64, was a video poker player who relied on gambling as his main source of income. 

The revelation comes years after the FBI in Las Vegas and the local police department concluded their investigations without a definitive motive, although both agencies said Paddock burned through more than $1.5 million, became obsessed with guns, and distanced himself from his girlfriend and family in the months leading up to the massacre. 

In a statement Thursday, Las Vegas police defended their inconclusive findings and dismissed the importance of the documents released this week in response to an open-records request from the Wall Street Journal. 

“We were unable to determine a motive for the shooter,” the statement said. “Speculating on a motive causes more harm to the hundreds of people who were victims that night.” 

[…] 

Kelly McMahill, a former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department official who headed the agency’s criminal investigation into the shooting, said there was no strong indication that Paddock’s actions were driven by resentment toward the casino industry.

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Will we ever know what pushed Paddock to mayhem? Maybe not. And, of course, this development drops when the nation is reeling over the mass shooting at Covenant School, a private Christian academy, in Nashville, Tennessee, where a transgender killer, Audrey Hale, murdered six people, including three children. Hale left a manifesto behind. When we can peruse that is also unknown.

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