CHICAGO — Chicago police are looking into reports that Stephen Paddock, the gunman in the Las Vegas mass shooting, booked rooms at Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel during this past summer’s Lollapalooza music festival across the street in Grant Park.
TMZ reported Thursday that Paddock reserved rooms on the park side of the hotel, with a clear view of the concert stages, for Aug. 1 through Aug. 3 but never showed up. It quoted no sources by name.
Two months later, Paddock booked rooms in the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas and, from the 32nd floor, fired hundreds of rounds at a crowd attending a country music festival. He killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 others.
The Chicago Police Department said in a statement that it was aware of the TMZ report about the Blackstone booking. “We are aware of the media reports and have been in communication with our federal partners,” chief police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Las Vegas police say Paddock also rented hotel rooms near a concert by Chance the Rapper in Las Vegas last month.
Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters Wednesday that Paddock rented several rooms through Airbnb at The Ogden hotel in downtown Vegas. The dates he was there corresponded with ” Life is Beautiful ” music festival, which was held Sept. 22-24.
“This is all pre-conjecture,” said Lombardo, who added that investigators have recovered items and video from the hotel which overlooked the concert, which also featured Muse, Lorde and Blink-182.
“Was he doing pre-surveillance?” said Lombardo. “We don’t know yet.”
A week later, authorities say Paddock fired on a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival about eight miles down the Las Vegas strip from The Ogden.
With a daily draw of more than 100,000 over four days every summer, Lollapalooza briefly becomes the ninth largest municipality in Illinois.
Lollapalooza arrived in Grant Park in 2005 when it was retooled as a destination festival by co-founders Perry Farrell and the William Morris Agency with new partners, Texas–based Capital Sports Entertainment (now C3 Presents).
It was staged for two days and drew more than 65,000 people. It expanded to three days in 2006 and four days in 2016. In recent years it has consistently sold out its 100,000-a-day capacity in advance.