On the night of October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concert attendees from his hotel room in Las Vegas Nevada, and in the time since, we’ve learned some chilling facts. Using a legally modified assault rifle, he fired hundreds of rounds into the thousands of people attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival, leaving 546 injured and 58 dead. The massacre became the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.
The mere fact that this horrible tragedy is the worst shooting in modern US history is chilling enough, but perhaps even more horrifying are the facts uncovered after careful investigation by both law enforcement officers and reporters alike. Details that seem almost too unbelievable to be true.
Here are seven terrifying facts of the Las Vegas Shooting.
7. Concert Attendees Became Medics
In the days after the shooting, many stories emerged of bystander courage. Perhaps the most amazing were how former concert attendees became impromptu medics, conscripted by the terrible events of that evening.
After the final shots were fired, anyone with medical experience remained at the scene and combed the crowd to offer assistance. Belts were used as makeshift tourniquets to stanch bleeding, volunteers carried the injured to the back seats of cars and pickup trucks to be sped to hospital emergency centers. Many lives were saved by the heroic acts of civilians as paramedics were kept from accessing the scene by the fleeing masses for almost half an hour.
6. Shooter Researched Other Large Outdoor Concerts Like Lollapalooza
In the month leading up to the attack, Stephen Paddock spent most of September gambling at Las Vegas casinos. He also spent time researching other large outdoor concert venues, such as Chicago’s Lollapalooza, as alternate targets for a bloodbath. While the Route 91 Harvest festival drew a large crowd, it was nothing compared to Lollapalooza in August.
Lucky for Chicago, Paddock was a no-show.
Paddock also booked an Airbnb in a nearby condo to the Life Is Beautiful music festival which also took place in Vegas. Officers now believe that he may have been doing research for the shooting that would come later in October.
5. Everything Was Legally Acquired
Everything Paddock purchased for the shooting, from the 23 firearms he took to his hotel room to the hundreds of rounds of ammunition later found near Paddock’s body, were all legally acquired under federal and state law.
Of those weapons, 12 had been modified with “bump-stocks”, a device which allows a normally semi-automatic rifle to fire fully automatically, increasing its fire rate from one round per pull of the trigger to something that fires hundreds of rounds per minute. Fully automatic firearms are banned under federal law, but many can be easily converted back to being fully automatic with simple modifications such as the bump-stock.
4. Stray Bullets Hit Fuel Tanks At Vegas International Airport
Mandalay Bay is fairly close to McCarran International Airport, an airport which brings millions of people to Sin City every year. It’s unclear whether they were stray shots or that Paddock took deliberate aim, but two bullets struck large white fuel tanks at the airport – tanks filled with highly flammable jet fuel.
“The airport’s tank farms are designed to include a combination of manual and automated fire suppression systems to ensure the utmost public safety,” spokesman Chris Jones said following the discovery of the rounds. While there was little risk of an explosion, it does shine a light on how a future domestic terrorist might cause havoc in the City of Lights.
3. Son of Benjamin Paddock, Former FBI Top 10 Most Wanted
Although his father left the family before he was born, Stephen Paddock is the biological son of Benjamin Hoskins Paddock Jr., one of the FBI’s most wanted criminals.
Between 1969 to 1977 Ben Paddock was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for bank robbery. He was initially caught and sent to prison in 1961, however, escaped from Texas prison in 1968. He then lived quietly under an assumed alias in Oregon before eventually being caught again 1978.
By the time his father was initially arrested in 1960, Stephen Paddock was 7-years-old, however, he had already left the family before Stephen was born. “We didn’t grow up under his influence,” said his brother Eric, further explaining his mother told them that their father was dead.
2. Mandalay Bay Suite Provided Free Since He Was A Regular Gambler
Staying in Vegas, and more importantly spending a lot of money in its many casinos, comes with a lot of perks. One of those perks is free stays in hotel suites for high rollers, of which Stephen Paddock was considered to be. “He wasn’t a whale, but he was certainly in a high-roller category,” said one anonymous Strip watcher familiar with Paddock.
Being a high-roller means that casinos will often comp your drinks and even give you free stays in hotel suites. Since Paddock spent thousands of dollars in MGM casinos over the month of September, he was offered the suite at Mandalay Bay that would eventually become the site of the worst mass shooting in American history.
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1. There Were Ingredients For High Explosives In Paddock’s Car
There were even signs that Paddock intended further terrorist acts following the shooting. He’d initially planned to escape by setting up video surveillance cameras in the hotel’s hallways and he had a bulletproof vest. If it weren’t for the fact a hotel staff member knocked on Paddock’s door moments before the shooting started he may have gotten away with it.
Perhaps most chilling was what investigators found in Paddock’s car: 50 pounds of tannerite and ammonium nitrate, ingredients commonly used to create improvised explosives. Paddock hadn’t yet acquired all the materials necessary to make a bomb, but there could be no other reason why a mass murderer would have these dangerous chemicals in his car.
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