In a visit to victims and police in Las Vegas on Wednesday, President Donald Trump praised the first responders who rushed into action during the deadly shooting spree that claimed 59 lives, and he told family members of the victims, “You are not alone, we will never leave your side.”
In an earlier public appearance at a local hospital, Trump characterized the gunman as a “very sick man, he was a very demented person.”
The girlfriend of the gunman behind the massacre in Las Vegas was met by federal agents when she arrived in the United States on a late-night flight, and investigators were to interview her Wednesday in the hope that she can shed light on an attack whose motivation is still a mystery to law enforcement authorities.
Officials have not found any clues “that would indicate the shooter’s ideology or motivation or really what compelled him to get there,” FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told CNBC in a televised interview Wednesday morning.
Regarding the motive of gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nev., “anything is possible, at this point we just don’t know,” McCabe said. “This is an individual who was not on our radar, or anyone’s radar, prior to this event.”
Meanwhile, a federal source told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that although Paddock first began buying guns two decades ago, the majority of the 47 he owned had been purchased since October 2016.
Paddock brought at least 23 weapons, mostly rifles, to the Mandalay Bay hotel room from which he opened fire on a country music concert across the street Sunday night, an attack that left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured, officials said.
Twelve of the guns were modified with “bump-fire” stocks, which are legal accessories that allow guns to fire at nearly fully automatic speed, officials said.
Little is known about Paddock’s relationship with Marilou Danley, who had lived with him but was outside the U.S. at the time of the attack.
Danley’s sisters told Australia-based news outlet Channel 7 that Paddock had “sent her away” before the attack.
“She didn’t even know that she was going to the Philippines until Steve said, ‘Marilou, I found you a cheap ticket to the Philippines,’” said one sister, whose name and face were concealed by the news outlet.
Another sister, whose identity was also concealed, said: “I know that she don’t know anything. … He sent her away so that he can plan what he is planning without interruptions. In that sense, I thank him for sparing my sister’s life, but that won’t (compensate for) 59 people’s lives.”
Danley arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday night on a flight from the Philippines, where she held an account that received significant bank transfers from Paddock over the last week, according to a federal law enforcement source not authorized to speak publicly about the details of the investigation.
The pair were not well known by their neighbors in Reno and Mesquite, where they had homes, and Paddock had a history of berating his girlfriend publicly “a lot,” according to baristas at the Starbucks inside the Virgin River Casino in Mesquite, where the couple were frequent customers.