Search for motive in Vegas mass shooting

Mourners paying tribute to victims of the mass shooting at a makeshift memorial on the Las Vegas Strip on Monday. At least 59 people were killed and over 520 injured in the shooting that targeted crowds at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival
Mourners paying tribute to victims of the mass shooting at a makeshift memorial on the Las Vegas Strip on Monday. At least 59 people were killed and over 520 injured in the shooting that targeted crowds at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on Sunday.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LAS VEGAS • As Las Vegas began the process of recovering from the deadliest mass shooting in US history, one question hung heaviest over the city: Why?

The authorities have yet to provide a motive for Stephen Paddock, 64, who killed at least 59 people and injured over 520 others when he unleashed a hail of bullets on a crowd at an outdoor music festival on Sunday.

Armed with an arsenal of 23 firearms, Paddock, described by police as a "lone gunman", stationed himself in a 32nd-floor suite of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and fired away. Thousands screamed and ran for cover as victims fell around them.

Police found Paddock dead in his hotel room. Investigators were still combing through his background but painted him as a wealthy gambler and amateur golfer.

The authorities said there were no signs he had ties to any international terrorist organisation, despite a claim of responsibility by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"He was a sick man, a demented man," US President Donald Trump told reporters, but was non-committal when asked about stricter gun controls.

"We'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by," he said. He also declined to say whether he considered the attack an act of domestic terrorism.

Police said they believed Paddock acted alone.

"We have no idea what his belief system was," said Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombard. "I can't get into the mind of a psychopath."

NYTIMES, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2017, with the headline 'Search for motive in Vegas mass shooting'. Print Edition | Subscribe