America’s most horrific shooting
By Frankie TAGGART
Investigators were desperately trying to establish the motive of a retired accountant who killed at least 59 people and wounded more than 500 after amassing a weapons cache in a hotel room and opening fire on the Las Vegas strip.
As America grappled with the deadliest mass shooting in its history, officials reacted cautiously to an Islamic State claim that Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, had carried out Sunday night's massacre on behalf of the jihadist group.
Police said Paddock, who had no criminal record, smashed windows in his 32nd floor hotel room shortly after 10:00 pm on Sunday and trained bursts of automatic weapons fire on thousands of people attending a country music concert below on the strip.
In video footage of the massacre broadcast on CNN, the rattle of long, sustained gunfire is heard as people scream and scurry for cover. At first they did not not know where the shots were coming from.
"We saw bodies down. We didn't know if they had fallen or had been shot," said Ralph Rodriguez, an IT consultant from the Pomona Valley, near Los Angeles, who was at the concert with a group of friends.
"People started grabbing their loved-ones and just strangers, and trying to help them get out of the way," Rodriguez said.
The Islamic State group claimed that Paddock was one of its "soldiers" but the FBI said it had found no such connection so far and the local sheriff described him as a lone "psychopath."
Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Paddock fired through the door of his hotel room and hit a security guard in the leg.
But when a SWAT team stormed the room where Paddock had been staying since September 28, they found he had killed himself.
A total of 23 firearms including automatic weapons were found in the hotel room, he said.
A search of Paddock's house in Mesquite, Nevada, 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas, recovered 19 additional firearms, some explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo.
Lombardo said investigators had discovered several pounds of an explosive called tannerite in the Mesquite home, as well as ammonium nitrate, a type of fertilizer, in the gunman's car.
He said the latest death toll was 59, while 527 people had been injured.
The motive of the massacre was not yet known, he said.
"We're hunting down and tracing down every single clue that we can get on his background," the sheriff said at a late-night briefing.
Lombardo said the authorities had found no manifesto or anything else to explain Paddock's actions.
"This individual is a lone wolf and I don't know how it could have been prevented," he said earlier in the day. "I can't get into the mind of a psychopath at this point."
President Donald Trump denounced what he called "an act of pure evil" and said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.
But the White House pushed back at calls to reopen the US debate on tighter gun controls.
"A motive is yet to be determined and it would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don't fully know all of the facts or what took place last night," Trump's spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
Lombardo said Paddock had apparently used some kind of hammer to smash the window of his hotel room before opening fire on the concert crowd of some 22,000 people.
IS described him as a "soldier of the caliphate," saying he converted to Islam several months ago and went by the nom de guerre Abu Abdel Bar al-Amriki -- "The American."
The group provided no evidence to back up its claims and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had found no such link so far.
"We have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group," FBI special agent Aaron Rouse said.
CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu said "the Intelligence Community is aware of the claim of responsibility by a foreign terrorist organization."
"We advise caution on jumping to conclusions before the facts are in," Liu said.
Paddock, according to his brother, was a high-stakes gambler and their bank-robber father was once on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.
But Eric Paddock stressed that his brother led an otherwise normal life, doting on their mother.
"He liked to play video poker. He went on cruises. He sent his mother cookies," he said.
"We're trying to understand what happened," his brother said. "We're lost."
Paddock had "no religious affiliation, no political affiliation" and was "not an avid gun guy at all," his brother added.
'Pretty much like a war scene'
Witnesses said Paddock opened fire with an initial long burst of gunfire, and appeared to reload as he continued his spree.
Robert Hayes, a Los Angeles firefighter who was at the concert, said he first thought the shots were some kind of equipment malfunction.
Once he realized what was going on, he joined the first responders, donning one of their vests.
Solution must be acceptable to Tamils Separate State is not a reasonable request - Former Army Commander, General Gerry De Silva RWP, VSV, USP
- Drugs & alcohol abuse in NE Religious reps to address issue
- Pvt hospital regulation Gazette in Feb
- 29 Lankan illegal migrants land at BIA
- NDB makes donation to Yatagara Vidyalaya, Niwithigala
- Path to reconciliation Women play major role - Dr. Udagama
- SL and Norway FOs hold consultations
- Airing SL war documentary HR activist withdraws appeal
- ‘Give the gift of life’ CCS and Katugastota Rotaracters conduct blood donation camp
- Why Pakistan is hyphenating Palestine and Kashmir The rest of the world has long distanced itself from the Islamist struggle in Kashmir – unlike Palestine
- Direct purchase of State vehicles mooted
- Trump-Palestine-Israel-Jerusalem issue SLPPFA to hold public seminar
- SL Navy assists critically ill Iranian sailor
- PEaCE fights child sexual exploitation in tourism Stakeholders discuss responsible business practices
- Cabinet approves PPP for underground Marine Drive extension Connecting Elevated Port Access Road
- Six new Ministry Secys appointed
- LG Elections SLFP hard pressed for suitable candidates – Sudarshini
- Debt ratio 79% of GDP
- Gnanasara thera meets Archbishop
- Renovation of tank in progress
- Jayasena warns errant Wildlife officials Low performance will not be tolerated
- Cost of rupee protection USD 6B depreciation in 5 years
- Lanka in foreign borrowing spree In the backdrop of falling exports
- UNP committed to free and fair polls – Sagala
- Wildlife Minister reveals racket Baby Jumbos sail overseas
- SriLankan TUs have no faith in Mgt Write to MS, Ranil and Cabinet
- SLC looking to re-launch showpiece T20 league
- 3rd Ashes Test Malan’s century lifts England
- Didn’t execute plans well -Samaraweera
- Premier League Inter Club Cricket Six Matches begin today
- CR & FC go out favourites
- CH vs Navy should be a thriller
- 2017 Macau International Kart Grand Prix Sri Lankan Pieris is champion
- Gampaha Peters win twice
- Asian Power-lifting - Masters Category Kandy’s iron man pockets gold
- MCA Inter Academy 30 Over League Rashitha 115 n.o. for Ragama CA
- PRIMA JUNIOR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP Weerasinghe takes clear lead
- ‘Singer Cup’ Under-19 Schools Cricket Draw in Jaffna
- Fixing claims rock Ashes series
- ‘I broke no rules’ over drugs test - Froome
- LPGA announces record prize money for 2018 campaign
- Man City set to win record
- Sharma blows Sri Lanka away
- MCA Inter Academy 30 Over League CCC CA win in a thriller
- JUNIOR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 Taniya and Kayla Round 1 Joint Leaders
- ‘Singer Cup’ U-19 Cricket Vinura ton helps Mahinda beat Dharmapala
- SEC to mandate dual roles for CEOs & Chairmen
- Alumex to commence EU & Aus exports
- Fiscal Policy Act remains toothless: Governor
- Samantha Rajapaksa gives up all AMW posts
- 'Publish excuses for corporate governance non-compliance'
- Jetwing Symphony IPO oversubscribed
- Shares recover from an 8-month low
- ‘Spot’ In freefall, closes at Rs 153.20/30
- Asian markets lower after Fed hikes interest rates
- SL tech solution BoardPAC enters Australia
- Nimal Perera’s NP capital buys 50% of digital disrupter Arimac for Rs 250M
- SriLankan wins Gold for 3rd straight year
- SLTDA wins e-Swabhimani Award for online licensing
- HNB Assurance wins Gold in Insurance category
- Sense Micro Distributors partners Chinese video surveillance company
- RDB Bank to give relief for coconut cultivation and Industry
- Electro-mobility in Sri Lanka
- Disney - Fox deal a media and entertainment earthquake
- Developing strong ‘people skills’ for success
- Abans to host ‘Christmas Delight’ promo
- LAW OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Trials by High Court
- Trinity CA on tour to India
- National Prosperity Development Planning and Budgets
- Paradise Gains
- Crossover Season has begun
- Canada’s pivot to China hits a snag
- Brexit: The UK’s four options
- When the heart calls out, on a starry night
- On eve of climate summit Macron reminds Trump of ‘responsibility to history’
- FGM/FGC Victims speak out
- SLFP supports devolution of power – Lasantha Alagiyawanna
- If Bond scammers are not prosecuted…President will lose his credibility –Bandula Gunawardena
- All information security issues are not cyber crimes
- We want a change in Muslim representation– Hasen Ali
- Railway tracks cheaper than highways
- Blessed are the peacemakers
- Disinformation campaigns and public mistrust
- Alleged human rights violations Lord Naseby defends Sri Lanka
- Neecha Dosha of planets and how it is cancelled Neechabhanga Rajayoga
- Vastu defects and bathrooms
- Are you endowed with Pancha Maha PurushaYoga?
- God Aiyanayake: Guardian Deity of Jungle and Village
- Good thoughts eliminate bad planetary influence
- The Disaster Artist: The (un)making of a movie
- Our children and our cinema
- INTERPRETING ASIAN CINEMA: CHALLENGES AHEAD
- How Sanskrit journalism is slowly hogging headlines
- ice manufacturing in South Asia
- CMSC’s season finale concert
- Two documentaries on Sri Lanka in Film South Asia 2017
- Politics of nostalgia
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- Silvia Senanayake Dazzles at Mrs. Asia International
- Let’s Taco Colombo
- THE WRITER’S KITCHENNETTE MULLED WINE
- Hunger gnaws at Rohingya Children in camps
- Defeating IS Russia has ‘accomplished’ task
- Saudi Princess Ameera Aidan fights sex exploitation
- Hacking into the gate
- Review: A Bad Moms Christmas Relatable holiday humour
- A must watch superhero film!