Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas gunman who opened fire on concertgoers in October, carefully prepared both for the attack and the investigation that would follow, the Washington Post reports. In newly released court documents that detail early days of the investigation, Paddock, 64, is described as spending significant time amassing his weapons and stockpiling ammunition while seeking “to thwart the eventual law enforcement investigation” into the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Paddock, firing from high-rise hotel suite at the Mandalay Bay resort, killed 58 people and injured hundreds of others at a country-music festival on the Las Vegas Strip before killing himself.
The newly released documents do not answer what motivated Paddock to carry out the attack. Paddock purchased the items used in his attack during the year leading up to it, the FBI said, and a large share of the ammunition and accessories he amassed appear to have been bought online. Federal authorities said Paddock used “anonymously attributed communications devices,” destroyed or concealed digital storage and had at least three cellphones in the hotel suite where he opened fire. Searches of Paddock’s hotel rooms, his vehicle and homes turned up more than 20 guns, hundreds of rounds of unused ammunition, suitcases partially filled with “pre-loaded high capacity magazines,” body armor, a homemade gas mask and explosive materials. Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, said that she had assumed Paddock was breaking up with her, continuing that it “never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone.” Federal authorities sought access to email addresses used by Paddock and Danley as well as Instagram, Facebook, Google and Amazon accounts they might have used. Danley’s Facebook account was set to private and then deleted in the hours after the shooting.