Las Vegas Sheriff: Shooter May Have Been Radicalized

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Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of Clark County told reporters that the gunman responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history may have been radicalized by an ideology, but his motive remains unknown.

On Oct. 1, retiree Stephen Paddock of Nevada killed at least 59 people and injured over 500 others during a concert in Las Vegas. The gunman fired at concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, eventually killing himself before law enforcement breached his hotel room. Investigators found 23 firearms on the scene and 19 additional firearms in Paddock's personal residence.

On Oct. 4, Lombardo gave updates on the investigation during a press conference. The sheriff disclosed that Paddock had set up a camera in the peephole of his hotel room and two additional cameras on the hallway of the Mandalay Bay resort's 32nd floor, according to The Associated Press.

Lombardo said that investigators were trying to determine Paddock's motivation and that the evidence signaled that the shooting spree had been planned for an extensive amount of time.

"The fact that he had the type of weaponry and amount of weaponry in that room, it was preplanned extensively, and I'm pretty sure he evaluated everything that he did and his actions, which is troublesome," Lombardo said.

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The sheriff added that investigators were working to determine whether Paddock had been influenced by an outside group.

"This investigation is not ended with the demise of Mr. Paddock," Lombardo continued. "Did this person get radicalized unbeknownst to us? And we want to identify that source."

On Oct. 2, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for Paddock's mass shooting on social media, calling the suspect "a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to targeting coalition countries."

The FBI has ruled out the possibility that ISIS had any association with Paddock. A U.S. official who requested anonymity noted that ISIS had previously claimed responsibility for mass killings that it had no relation to as a propaganda technique.

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"There is no indication that there is any link whatsoever," the official told Newsweek. "They claim a lot of things."

Paddock's family members said that the gunman had no ideology that would prompt him to commit terrorism.

"No affiliation, no religion, no politics," Erick Paddock, the gunman's brother, told reporters. "He never cared about any of that stuff."

On Oct. 3, Paddock's girlfriend, 62-year-old Marilou Danley, returned to the U.S. from the Philippines and met with FBI agents at Los Angeles International Airport. Lombardo stated that Danley was out of the country when Paddock carried out his attack but that he anticipated she would provide information that would help investigators determine the gunman's motivation.

Several people have criticized media reports that do not characterize Paddock as a terrorist, regardless of his motivation or affiliations. Journalist Shaun King of The Intercept took to social media to assert that Paddock would have been described a terrorist by authorities if he had not been a white man.

"Only in America can whiteness prevent the man who conducted the deadliest mass shooting in American history from being called a terrorist," King tweeted.

Sources: The Associated Press via ABC News, NewsweekShaun King/Twitter / Featured Image: Lasvegaslover/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Ken Lund/Flickr, CBS This Morning/YouTube

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