Someday law enforcement will reveal to the public either their best theory behind Stephen Paddock’s mass murder in Las Vegas, NV. So far, the only fact we really know is that Paddock was involved in a well-planned attack at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino killing 59 and wounding over 500.
Justin Smith looks at the infamous tragedy.
A Las Vegas War Zone
By Justin O. Smith
Sent 10/7/2017 1:04 AM
America was struck speechless with horror, grief, rage and fury, when breaking news from Las Vegas, Nevada flashed images of good and decent young men and women being cut down in a hail of automatic weapons fire, at the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert on October 1st, by an incredibly well-armed, strategically positioned psychopathic assassin. A great evil had descended upon this field of nearly twenty-two thousand joyful and excited concert goers, striking the life from 59 and wounding 527 in a most terrible manner, and it left memories of devastation and unimaginable horror with all, who witnessed this heinous act of terror.
The first shots of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history rang out at 10:05 PM, from an 1800 square feet luxury corner suite of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where Stephen Paddock, a 64 year old multimillionaire gambler from Mesquite, Nevada, had stocked 23 semi-automatic weapons — some AR15s and AR10s — modified with bumpstocks to simulate automatic fire, at least one automatic weapon and thousands of rounds of ammunition, over several days. And Paddock was running amok.
At 10:08 PM, a police transmission relayed: “We got shots fired! It sounded like an automatic firearm.”
One of the first casualties was Sonny Melton, 29, a registered nurse from Big Sandy, TN, who was also a surgical assistant for his wife, Heather, a surgeon. He died trying to shield her from the bullets, even as Heather tried to save him from bleeding out. In an emotional interview, Heather told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, “I lost half my heart.”
As soon as everybody realized the rapid multiple pop-pop-pops they were hearing weren’t fireworks, chaos ensued, as many dove for cover and many others sprang into action to help the wounded. One off duty emergency medical technician, Travis Phippen, crawled from victim to victim, according to the LA Times, and he plugged their wounds with cloth and saw the woman next to him get shot in the head. He also found his own father, John (age 56), mortally wounded.
Mikkena Parry, a young teenager, shed tears as she tried to speak to ABC’s David Muir about the horror she and others experience that night. A bullet went through her arm and into her abdomen. Her boyfriend and two other teens carried her to the back of a pickup truck and rushed her to the hospital.
And there was Jonathan Smith, a thirty year old who reportedly saved up to 30 lives, taking a bullet to the neck.
The calls went out and off duty doctors and nurses rushed to Las Vegas hospitals, like University Medical Center and Sunrise Hospital, where they worked on the victims throughout hours of surgery. Dr. Jay Coates, a trauma and critical care surgeon at UMC, said, “They were coming in so fast … with lung contusions, liver and spleen contusions … It was like a war zone.”
Audio from the concert reveals a fire rate impossible for even the most skilled shooters, with specialized triggers. During one 31 second span, Paddock fired a staggering 280 rounds.
Nearly ten minutes of continuous fire had passed by the time Jesus Campos, hotel security, reached Paddock’s door and distracted him from his murderous mission, as Paddock shot through the door and hit him in the upper thigh. Over 200 more rounds followed Campos’s retreat down the corridor; and with police converging on the room, Paddock took his own life. Campos’s interdiction saved lives.
Police waited for reinforcements and SWAT from 10:40 to 11:20, when SWAT detonated an explosive device to breach the door. They found Paddock dead.
At 12:31 AM Monday, authorities finally announced they thought Paddock was the only attacker. Two hours and twenty-six minutes had passed, and the massacre was officially over.
A note has been reported to have been found in Paddock’s room by authorities, according to numerous sources, like the Daily Wire. Perhaps once authorities decide it doesn’t compromise their investigation, they will release its content. It may reveal a piece of the puzzle towards motive.
Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI hostage negotiator from the bureau’s behavioral science unit, stated: ” On the surface, Paddock didn’t seem like a typical mass murderer. Paddock is much older than the typical shooter and was not known to be suffering from mental illness.”
Paddock has broken the mold as a 64 year old millionaire mass murderer. This is a different level of mass shooting and an outlier on every level.
Analyzing Paddock’s computer, cellphone and other electronic devices, investigators have found no clear connection to extremist or activist groups or outward display of mental illness, according to the Associated Press. He was called a loner, unfriendly, distant, surly and quick to anger by many of his neighbors in several states where he owned homes.
And, the fact that Stephen’s brother Eric says Stephen “wasn’t a gun guy” doesn’t hold any weight. They weren’t close, and Stephen hadn’t seen his other brother, Patrick, in 20 years.
Paddock owned over 40 guns and acquired some of them years ago, in Utah, Texas, Nevada and California. He had an Alaskan hunting license. He obviously learned to use them over time.
On October 4th, Clark County, Nevada Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said: “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.” He also said it was only logical to “make the assumption” that Paddock had “some help at some point” in pulling off that Sunday’s massacre.
One should investigate the possibility, that Paddock either had knowing accomplices or simply people he used without their knowledge in gathering items, like the ammonium nitrate, fifty pounds of tannerite explosive and 1600 rounds of ammo found in his car. However, he could have accomplished this on his own. He had plenty of time and millions of dollars on his side, and it would have been easy to move the ten suitcases, noted by the FBI, filled with guns and ammunition to his room, slowly, patiently and methodically, and without drawing any notice to himself.
Paddock’s act of terror didn’t require “military training”, only a familiarization with his tools of terror. He was shooting down from the 32nd floor into clusters of people, who were less than 400 yards away, alternating between two different weapons position. He didn’t have to be a good marksman or even really aim the rapid automatic fire, because from his vantage point, casualties were assured. Anyone, even a twelve year old boy, could do the same.
Where was Paddock’s conscience or moral code, that should have stopped him from carrying out his act of pure evil?
Now, numerous false stories or stories not verified, substantiated or authenticated, like Reuters’ claim that Paddock converted to Islam, based on only one anonymous source, harm the investigation, tying up resources needed elsewhere. There are other claims that are more plausible, such as Paddock was a member of Antifa; another says he was a Trump hater, but both, to date, cannot be confirmed. The cacophony of white noise and misinformation is drowning out the truth.
In the midst of our raw pain and grief so fresh, America understands that a cold-blooded, calculating and evil monster slithered forth, on a beautiful Sunday night, intent on breaking the hearts and the human souls of fine and loving Americans, taking one loved one after another and making a deep cut through the heart of those, not quite saints, who live close to God. Rather than breaking us, he strengthened our resolve to find anyone who knew of his plans or helped him, and as our spirits surge, we work in our knowledge there will be an accounting and America will carry on singing God Bless America.
By Justin O. Smith
Edited by John R. Houk
Source links are by the Editor.
© Justin O. Smith