On anniversary of Las Vegas massacre, motive still unclear
LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas is marking the anniversary of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Fifty-eight people died, 413 were wounded and police say at least 456 were injured fleeing bullets that a gambler-turned-gunman rained down late Oct. 1, 2017, from the Mandalay Bay casino-resort into an outdoor concert crowd on the Las Vegas Strip. He then killed himself, taking the reasons for his rampage with him.
Here’s where some of the many elements of the Las Vegas shooting stand today:
After seven months, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo declared the Las Vegas police investigation complete and on Aug. 3 issued a report that does not find a motive for the shooting.
Lombardo said authorities are confident the shooter acted alone and was not part of a terrorist plot.
An FBI report incorporating a behavioral analysis of shooter Stephen Paddock is expected by year’s end.
A report issued Aug. 24 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others found local police and fire departments received more than 1,500 calls within two hours of the shooting and responded to 16 major false reports.
One said there were 20 hostages held at the New York-New York casino-resort. Others reported a hotel fire and active shooters at other casinos and McCarran International Airport.
The FEMA report made 72 observations and recommendations for responding to mass violence incidents.
Paddock, 64, was a retired postal service worker, accountant, real estate investor, private pilot and high-limit video poker player who earned casino perks gambling tens of thousands of dollars at a time.
He sold properties in California, Florida, Nevada and Texas, and had homes in Reno and the southern Nevada resort town of Mesquite, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) from Las Vegas.
His bank robber father was once on the FBI Most Wanted list. His brother, Eric Paddock, called him the “king of microaggression” — narcissistic, detail-oriented and maybe bored enough with life to plan an attack that would make him famous.
Stephen Paddock told a Reno car salesman months before the shooting that he was depressed and had relationship troubles. He told friends and relatives he always felt ill and in pain. His doctor offered him antidepressants but told police Paddock accepted only a prescription for anxiety medication.
Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, told investigators he became distant before he sent her to the Philippines two weeks before the shooting. Police say he wired her $150,000 there to buy a house.
Danley, a former Reno casino worker, returned to the U.S. after the shooting and was interviewed several times by authorities. She was never charged with a crime.
The only person to face a charge is Douglas Haig, an Arizona man who acknowledged selling bullets to Paddock.
Haig has entered a not-guilty plea to a federal charge of illegally manufacturing ammunition. A trial date has not been set.
Police found 23 assault-style rifles, one handgun and thousands of rounds of unspent ammunition in the gunman’s hotel suite and an adjoining room.
More than half the rifles were modified with rapid-fire devices called bump stocks . Many were fitted with bipods for stability, target scopes and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Police and the FBI found explosives and ammunition in Paddock’s car at the Mandalay Bay, 18 weapons at his Mesquite home and seven weapons at his Reno home.
Authorities determined all the weapons were legally purchased, most within the previous year.
The shooting spawned lawsuits involving thousands of victims and MGM Resorts International, the Mandalay Bay’s corporate parent.
Attorneys representing victims allege negligence by the casino company. They want the case tried in state court.
The casino giant took the case to federal court, where it wants a judge to invoke a law that Congress enacted after 9/11 to shield it from liability claims. A decision is pending.
MGM took the unprecedented step of suing more than 1,900 victims in multiple states in July. The company is not asking for money, but it wants a judge to declare that it owes nothing to survivors or families of slain victims under the 2002 federal law.
The company later offered to donate $500 to charity for every defendant who waived being served or authorized an attorney to accept lawsuit documents on their behalf.
DONATIONS FOR VICTIMS
A $31.4 million fund that started as a GoFundMe effort to benefit victims of the shooting has distributed the full sum among survivors and victims’ families.
A committee overseeing the fund created a protocol to make payments on a scale to more than 530 people.
Relatives of those killed and people whose injuries left them with permanent brain damage or paralysis received the maximum $275,000.
Smaller sums were given to those who were hospitalized or received medical care on an emergency or outpatient basis in the days after the shooting.
LAS VEGAS MEMORIALS
A committee chaired by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will work to design, fund and build a permanent memorial. But it might be years before anything is completed.
Almost a decade went by before a memorial for the Columbine High School shooting victims was finished, while a committee in August agreed on a design for the memorial for Sandy Hook Elementary School victims.
The concert venue remains unused and walled off with green privacy screens, and owner MGM Resorts International has no plans for the site.
A garden that volunteers put together miles away is the only permanent public space in the Las Vegas area created in memory of the victims. It holds 59 trees — one for every victim, plus an oak representing life — a fountain and a series of structures decorated with mementos, names and photos of the victims.
Volunteers at a museum have catalogued more than 15,000 items left after the shooting at makeshift memorials at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and in a median near the festival grounds. A sampling of them, including candles, stuffed animals and crosses, recently went on exhibit.
Jason Aldean was performing as the Route 91 Harvest Festival ‘s final headlining act when the gunfire erupted.
His wife and about 40 members of his band and crew were at the site. Two of their tour buses, their lighting board and stage were shot.
Aldean told The Associated Press in April that he felt thankful his family and friends weren’t hurt but guilty because of all the people there to see him play. And then he felt anger and disbelief.
“You start doing that thing like, ‘Man, did that really happen? It seems so crazy,’” Aldean said. “You just sit there and relive it a thousand times a day.”
He said talking about the experience and meeting with survivors has helped his recovery.
A spokesman said Aldean will not attend anniversary events in Las Vegas but was performing Saturday in Irvine, California, along with Luke Combs, who also was on stage the night of the shooting.