Las Vegas massacre probe turns to gunman's girlfriend
The girlfriend of a retiree who killed 58 people and then himself in a shooting rampage in Las Vegas arrived from the Philippines in Los Angeles, where FBI agents hoped to question her about the massacre, law enforcement officials said.
Marilou Danley, who U.S. authorities have described as a “person of interest” in the investigation, left Manila on Tuesday evening aboard Philippine Airlines Flight PR 102, according to Philippines immigration spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang.
The non-stop flight arrived as scheduled at about 7:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport, according to the airline tracking website FlightAware.com and passengers from the flight.
Mangrobang told Reuters by text message there was no information about whether Danley was travelling with anyone else.
Returning to clear her name
A police official in Manila and a law enforcement official in the United States, both speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that Danley left the Philippines unescorted but was being met by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in Los Angeles.
Investigators will speak to Marilou Danley. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department via AP)
The U.S. source said Danley was not under arrest but that the FBI hoped she would consent to be interviewed voluntarily.
The police official in Manila said Danley’s trip back to the United States “was co-ordinated with FBI authorities” and that she was returning to clear her name of any involvement in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Stephen Paddock, her live-in companion who killed himself moments before police stormed the Las Vegas hotel suite he had transformed into a sniper’s nest on Sunday night, left no clear clues about why he staged his attack on an outdoor concert below the highrise building.
$ 100,000 wire transfer
Law enforcement authorities are hoping to obtain some answers from Danley, who according to public records and police shared Paddock’s condo in a retirement community in Mesquite, Nev., about 130 kilometres northeast of Las Vegas.
The Philippine police official said authorities in Manila were told that Paddock used identification belonging to Danley, who has an Australian passport, when checking in to the Las Vegas hotel.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, centre, responds to a question during a media briefing in Las Vegas on Tuesday. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun/Associated Press)
Investigators are also examining a $ 100,000 wire transfer that Paddock sent to an account in the Philippines that appeared to be intended for Danley, a senior U.S. homeland security official told Reuters on Tuesday.
The official, who has been briefed regularly on the probe but spoke on condition of anonymity, said investigators were working on the assumption that the money was intended as a form of life insurance payment to Danley.
Eager to question Danley
The official said U.S. authorities were eager to question Danley about whether Paddock encouraged her to leave the United States before going on his rampage.
Danley arrived in Manila on Sept. 15, more than two weeks before the mass shooting in Las Vegas, then flew to Hong Kong on Sept. 22 and returned in Manila on Sept. 25. She was there until she flew to LAX on Tuesday night, according to a Philippine immigration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Las Vegas gunman | Stephen Paddock’s attack shocks neighbours2:31
Danley, an Australian citizen aged 62 who is reported to have been born in the Philippines, was not seen by reporters in any public area of the LAX arrival terminal.
A senior U.S. homeland security official said investigators had uncovered evidence that Paddock may have rehearsed his plans at other venues before ultimately carrying out his attack on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival from the 32nd floor suite of the Mandalay Bay hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
Fresh details about the massacre and the arsenal Paddock amassed emerged on Tuesday.
Police said Paddock strafed the concert crowd with bullets for nine to 11 minutes before taking his own life, and had set up cameras inside and outside his hotel suite so he could see police as they closed in on his location.
Authorities released police body camera video that showed the chaos of the attack as officers tried to figure out the location of the shooter and shuttle people to safety. Amid sirens and volleys of gunfire, people yelled “they’re shooting right at us” while officers shouted “go that way!”
A total of 47 firearms were recovered from three locations searched by investigators — Paddock’s hotel suite, his home in Mesquite, and another property associated with him in Reno, according to Jill Snyder, special agent for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
Guns purchased in 4 states
Snyder said 12 of the guns found in the hotel room were fitted with so-called bump-stock devices that allow the guns to be fired virtually as automatic weapons. The devices are legal under U.S. law, even though fully automatic weapons are for the most part banned.
The rifles, shotguns and pistols were purchased in four states — Nevada, Utah, California and Texas — Snyder told reporters at an evening news conference.
A search of Paddock’s car turned up a supply of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be formed into explosives and was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of a federal office building that killed 168 people, Lombardo said earlier.
Police also confirmed that photos widely published online showing the gunman’s body, his hands in gloves, lying on the floor beside two firearms and spent shell casings, were authentic crime-scene images obtained by media outlets. An internal investigation was under way to determine how they were leaked.
More than 500 injured
Video footage of the shooting spree on Sunday night caught by those on the ground showed throngs of people screaming in horror, some crouching in the open for cover, hemmed in by fellow concert-goers, and others running for cover as extended bursts of gunfire rained onto the crowd of some 20,000.
Las Vegas shooting | Survivor describes attack: “I just saw someone dead on the floor”4:15
Police had put the death toll at 59 earlier on Tuesday, not including the gunman. However, the coroner’s office revised the confirmed tally to 58 dead, plus Paddock, on Tuesday night.
More than 500 people were injured, some trampled in the pandemonium. At least 20 of the survivors admitted to one of several hospitals in the area, University Medical Center, remained in critical condition on Tuesday, doctors said.
At least 4 Canadians died
At least four Canadians are among the dead and six others were injured. The parents of 23-year-old B.C. man Jordan McIldoon said their son was killed at the festival. Jessica Klymchuk of Valleyview, Alta., was also killed. She had four school-age children and worked at a local Catholic school in the Alberta town. Calla Medig of Edmonton is also among the dead.
Heather Gooze, a Las Vegas bartender who was working at the festival, told CBC’s Carol Off that she stayed with McIldoon after he was shot.
Jordan McIldoon, 23, of Maple Ridge, B.C., was among those killed. (Family photo)
“I would never want myself or one of my family members to be left alone,” Gooze told the As It Happens host. “I needed to make sure that they could identify him, that they knew who he was, that they knew he has a girlfriend who was here.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday to express condolences after the attack, “as well as expressing our direct condolences to the families of the Canadians lost in that attack, and the many people injured while they were on vacation.”
4 Canadians killed in Las Vegas mass shooting2:08
‘True feat of heroism’
The union representing firefighters disclosed that a dozen off-duty firefighters who were attending the music festival were shot while trying to render aid to other spectators, two of them while performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on victims.
“This is a true feat of heroism on their part,” said Ray Rahne of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
A police officer stands in front of the closed Las Vegas Strip next to the site of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting on Tuesday. Investigators are still baffled about the motive of the gunman, Stephen Paddock. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
But the central, unanswered question to the bloodshed was what drove the gunman’s actions.
Federal, state and local investigators have found no evidence that Paddock had even incidental contacts with foreign or domestic extremist groups, and reviews of his history showed no underlying pattern of criminal behaviour or hate speech, the homeland security official said.
While investigators had not ruled out the possibility of mental illness or some form of brain injury, “there’s no evidence of that, either,” the official said.