FBI agents knew the gunman behind the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history left behind big caches of guns, ammunition and explosives when they sought warrants to search his properties and online accounts, according to court documents released Friday (Jan. 12).
However, new questions were raised after a U.S. judge in Nevada unsealed the documents revealing some of what federal agents had learned about shooter Stephen Paddock in the week after the Las Vegas attack.
The 315 pages of FBI affidavits provide just a glimpse of what investigators found during initial searches of Paddock’s car and home after police found him dead late Oct. 1 in a hotel room at the Mandalay Bay resort. Girlfriend Marilou Danley’s casino player rewards card was with him, although she was in the Philippines at the time.
The documents made public did not answer the key question: What motivated Paddock, a 64-year-old high-stakes gambler, to unleash gunfire from his room on the 32nd floor of the resort into an outdoor concert below. Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more before killing himself.
Prosecutors didn’t oppose the request for the records by media organizations, including The Associated Press. The affidavits were filed to get search warrants.
The records also did not say whether Danley knew in advance about Paddock’s plans and why Paddock apparently emailed himself about buying and selling weapons and accessories.
Danley told investigators they would probably find her fingerprints on bullets because she sometimes helped Paddock load ammunition magazines.
An FBI agent told a judge in an Oct. 3 document that Danley wasn’t arrested when she returned to the U.S.; she had provided a DNA sample to authorities, and she was cooperating with investigators.
Police and the FBI have described Danley as a person of interest in the case. FBI spokeswoman Sandra Breault in Las Vegas said late Friday she could not comment about Danley or the investigation
Las Vegas police Officer Aden OcampoGomez and Breault said Friday that they had no update about Paddock’s motive. Both called it an ongoing investigation.
Another document said Paddock apparently sent messages between separate email accounts with similar names referring to buying and selling assault-style rifles and so-called “bump stock” devices to make the guns more rapid-fire.