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Las Vegas police conclude Route 91 Harvest shooting investigation, find no motive for attack

By | Published on Monday 6 August 2018

Route 91 Harvest

Las Vegas police have concluded their investigation into last October’s mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival. They say that despite following around 2000 leads, they are still unable to identify a motive for the attack, which left 58 dead and hundreds injured.

“What we have been able to answer are the questions of who, what, when, where and how”, said Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo at a press conference on Friday. “What we have not been able to definitively answer is the ‘why’ [gunman] Stephen Paddock committed this act”.

The police report states that 31 people were killed at the scene, with 27 pronounced dead in nearby hospitals. A further 869 were discovered to have sustained injuries related to the attack, 413 of those by bullets or shrapnel. The attack ended when Paddock took his own life.

Paddock had acted alone, said police, and had no known affiliations to terrorist or hate groups. He left nothing to suggest why he had carried out the attack, but there were indications that he had been planning it for some time.

He is thought to have begun amassing a large arsenal of weapons and ammunition in 2016, eventually spending around $95,000 on this. He also booked hotels overlooking other music festivals. He never checked into one near last year’s Lollapalooza in Chicago’s Grant Park. However, he did check in to three rooms he booked overlooking the Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas last September.

Security footage shows him carrying a number of suitcases to each room during his stay there, similar to video captured prior to the Route 91 Harvest attack. Police say that it is unclear if Paddock aborted an attack on Life Is Beautiful or if he used this as preparation for the shooting that took place a month later.

One person was arrested during the investigation on charges of illegal manufacture and selling of armour-piercing ammunition. Sheriff Lombardo said that police do not expect to make further arrests.

Lombardo also denied claims that the police’s radio system had failed during the attack, hindering their response. “There’s no system in the world that can handle that kind of volume in a short period of time,” he said. “I personally believe the communications system was sound and robust”.

He added that evaluations of the performance of individual officers were not included in the new report, saying that this was something that would be handled internally and not made public.

One further document is due to be made public though. The FBI’s Behavior Analysis Unit is scheduled to publish a review of Paddock’s “psychopathology” by the end of the year. It is not thought that this will provide a motive either, but may give further insight into the events that lead to Paddock deciding to carry out the attack.