Matthew Edwards lights a candle at a makeshift memorial for the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Las Vegas gunman installed cameras to detect police

The gunman who attacked a Las Vegas country music festival installed cameras outside his hotel room, including at least one in a room service cart, to watch for the approach of police officers as he carried out his rampage, officials said Tuesday.

Officials still haven’t offered a motive for why Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nev., opened fire at a concert across the street from the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Sunday night, killing 59 and injuring more than 500.

Officials have identified all but three of the dead.

But additional information obtained by investigators revealed the extent to which Paddock, who owned dozens of guns, apparently “preplanned extensively” for the attack, said Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

One Mandalay Bay security guard, who had become separated from police, was shot in the leg through the door of Paddock’s room when he approached, Lombardo said. The guard escaped, and police surrounded the room, eventually breaking inside, where they discovered that Paddock had killed himself.

A photograph obtained by the German newspaper Bild showed part of the interior of Paddock’s suite. What appears to be an AR-style rifle fitted with a scope and a bipod rests on the floor.

Lombardo said Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, was in the Philippines, but that authorities were hoping to talk to her soon.

A federal law enforcement official said investigators had discovered significant recent bank transfers to an account in the Philippines belonging to Danley.

Paddock had a history of berating his girlfriend publicly, according to baristas at the Starbucks inside the Virgin River Casino in Mesquite, where the couple were frequent customers.

Paddock’s abuse would come when Danley asked to use his casino card to make the purchase,  Esperanza Mendoza, supervisor of the Starbucks, said.

The mass shooting has launched another debate over access to guns in the United States, with much scrutiny falling on the gunman’s use of a “bump stock” device that allows the shooter to rapidly fire off rounds without actually converting a gun to a fully automatic weapon.

Paddock had at least 23 weapons in his hotel room, mostly rifles originally designed for military use that have become popular among civilians in recent decades.

Automatic weapons — which unleash multiple bullets with a single pull of the trigger — are more heavily regulated under U.S. law than semiautomatic guns, which fire one bullet per trigger pull. But they are not banned outright. Paddock had apparently bought his guns legally and passed background checks.

The shooting brought outrage by one of the survivors of the attack, country musician Caleb Keeter, a guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band.

“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd Amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night,” Keeter wrote on Twitter Monday.

“Writing my parents and the love of my life a goodbye last night and a living will because I felt like I wasn’t going to live through the night was enough for me to realize that this is completely and totally out of hand,” Keeter wrote. “… we need gun control RIGHT. NOW.”

National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch, on her radio show, said new calls to restrict the size of ammunition magazines or “bump fire” accessories would be “unenforceable” in practice, given they can be created with private tools.

“Even if you outlaw the accessory to aid someone doing it, you can use something in your garage,” Loesch said. “… If he is going to murder a ton of people, do you think he’s going to be deterred by a law on simulating full auto?”

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