LAS VEGAS - The Las Vegas gunman who killed 58 people and injured over 500 more before taking his own life as police stormed his hotel room spent decades stockpiling guns and living a “secret life” that investigators may never be able to fully understand, police say.
Clark County, Nev., Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Wednesday that it was only logical to “make the assumption” that Stephen Paddock had “some help at some point” in pulling off Sunday's massacre. As evidence, Lombardo pointed to gunman Paddock’s huge arsenal, explosive materials found in his car and his meticulous planning.
“What we know is Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and living a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood,” the sheriff said.
Authorities also revealed that they believe Paddock had an escape plan, even though he turned the gun on himself as police closed in on his luxury suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds in the attack as he fired from his room on the 32nd floor.
They gave no details on what his intentions might have been.
Authorities were looking for hints in those details of the kind of life he lived, and the kind of victims and venue he targeted, said David Gomez, a former FBI national security and criminal profiler.
"We may never know to 100 percent certainty," he said. "But they will find out."
The motive is still elusive but we do know that Paddock rented rooms overlooking two other music festivals in Las Vegas and Chicago before he mowed down concertgoers from his high-rise hotel suite, authorities said. In August, Paddock booked a room at Chicago's Blackstone Hotel that overlooked Grant Park where Lollapalooza was held that weekend, a law enforcement official said Thursday. The official said there was no evidence of Paddock ever coming to Chicago that weekend.
The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity after being briefed on the investigation. Paddock's booking of the hotel room was first reported by TMZ.
The weekend before the Las Vegas bloodbath, Paddock rented a high-rise condo in a Las Vegas building that overlooked the Life is Beautiful alternative music festival, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Tuesday. He offered no other details about what led Paddock there. The music festival featured Chance the Rapper, Muse, Lorde and Blink-182.
When Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay on Sept. 28, he specifically requested an upper-floor room with a view of the Route 91 Harvest music festival, according to a person who has seen hotel records turned over to investigators and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Investigators trying to establish the motive for the attack have had little more to chase than hints and shadows.
Where other mass killers have left behind a trail of plain-sight clues that help investigators quickly understand what drove them to violence, Paddock led a low-key, private life. He had no known criminal record and almost no close friends, social media presence or other clear connections to the broader world.
The No. 2 official in the FBI said Wednesday he was surprised investigators had not uncovered more.
"There's all kinds of things that surprise us in each one of these events. That's the one in this one, and we are not there yet," FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said. "We have a lot of work to do."
Investigators have zeroed in on a weapon-buying binge Paddock went on in the year before the attack. They wonder if he had some sort of mental break at the time that drove him to start making plans for mass murder.
They are also looking at his gambling habits and checking records for any disputes he might have had with casinos or fellow patrons.
On Wednesday, FBI agents trying to understand his state of mind questioned his girlfriend, 62-year-old Marilou Danley, who was out of the country during the attack. She was visiting her native Philippines.
She said she had no inkling of his murderous plans.
"He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen," she said in a statement read by her lawyer.
FOX News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.