Las Vegas shooting: Why police won’t call Stephen Paddock a terrorist yet

By @chelean on
las vegas shooting
Las Vegas Metro Police officers gather near the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. early October 2, 2017. Reuters/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, has been identified as the gunman in Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting. But while the incident has been called the deadliest mass shooting in United States’ history, with at least 50 people dead and more than 400 injured, police still won’t call Paddock a terrorist or the incident an act of terrorism.

Police described Paddock as a “lone wolf” with no known ties to terrorist groups. He reportedly had lived in a retirement village since June 2016. His motive for firing shots at the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert-goers remains unknown. Mesquite Police told CBS News that Paddock was not known to authorities, meaning he didn’t have any criminal convictions.

When asked if Paddock’s action was an act of terrorism, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, replied, “No, not at this point.” The state of Nevada defines mass shooting as a terror act, so why can’t they call Paddock a terrorist?

According to Lombardo, they have to establish Paddock’s motivation first before they can label his action. “There’s a motivating factor associated with terrorism other than a distraught person just intending to cause mass casualties,” he told reporters. “Before we label with that, it will be a matter of process.”

Paddock died from self-inflicted wound; Person of interest not involved

Lombardo said Paddock killed himself before the LVMPD SWAT got into his room at the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Investigators, meanwhile, located Marilou Danley, who was initially named a person of interest in the case. Lombardo described Danley as an Asian female who stands approximately 4 ft, 11 inches, and weighs 111 lbs.

Danley was apparently Paddock’s companion and had been living with him. It has not been suggested that she was seen with Paddock at the hotel or elsewhere prior to the incident. About 5 a.m. on Monday, the police released a statement, saying that they had interviewed Danley and do not believe she was involved with the shooting, Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Las Vegas shooting incident

Around 10:08 p.m. Las Vegas time on Sunday (4 p.m. AEDT Monday), about 40,000 attendees at the third and last day of the country music concert fled in panic after a gunman opened fire at them. Paddock was firing from his room from the 32nd floor of the hotel, which was across the Las Vegas Strip, where the concert was holding.

At least 50 people were killed from his attack, with over 400 more injured. Country music star Jason Aldean, who was playing on stage when Paddock began open firing with his automatic weapon, posted his thoughts on the incident on Instagram. He called the attack “beyond horrific.”

“My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight,” he wrote. “It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”

US President Donald Trump also tweeted his condolences to the victims, while former president Barack Obama said their thoughts were with the families of the victim. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also tweeted his sympathy.