LAS VEGAS — Chilling new clues suggest the man behind the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history planned to inflict even more carnage.
Stephen Paddock didn’t just have 23 weapons in his Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino hotel suite, which he turned into a sniper’s nest to kill 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas.
He also had 50 pounds of explosives material and 1,600 rounds of ammunition in his car in the hotel parking lot, police said.
Investigators believe Paddock intended to survive the massacre, Las Vegas police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.
“He was doing everything possible to see how he could escape,” Lombardo said, declining to detail specifics.
But what motivated Paddock to kill dozens of strangers — and where he planned to strike next — remain a mystery.
New evidence shows Paddock fired his first shots into the Route 91 Harvest music festival at 10:05 p.m. PDT Sunday — three minutes earlier than what police previously reported, according to investigators.
For 10 minutes, Paddock sprayed hundreds of bullets into the crowd about a quarter-mile away.
The shots pummeled the gathering of 22,000 people with devastating speed because of the help of bump-fire stocks, legal accessories that make weapons fire similarly to an automatic rifle.
As the indiscriminate killings continued, police said, cameras were positioned inside and outside Paddock’s hotel suite, and in the door’s peephole.
A security guard approached the 32nd-floor suite and was shot in the leg by Paddock. The 64-year-old gunman fired “well over 200 rounds” into the hallway, Lombardo said.
“It’s amazing that security guard didn’t sustain additional injury,” the sheriff said.
At 10:15 p.m., Paddock fired his last shots, police said. Three minutes later, the wounded security guard told Las Vegas police he’d been shot and directed officers to the gunman’s room.
More than an hour later, at 11:20 p.m., police first breached Paddock’s suite and found his body on the ground.
Seven minutes later, officers gained access to a second room of the suite. No one else was found, and police declared the suspect “down.”
As more than 100 investigators dig for answers, police aren’t sure what turned a retired accountant into a mass killer.
“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,” the sheriff said.
Investigators said something might have happened to Paddock between October 2016 and last month that compelled him to purchase more weapons.
Paddock bought 33 firearms, mostly rifles, during that period, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman said.
And before checking into Mandalay Bay days before the massacre, Paddock rented a room at a Las Vegas condominium complex that overlooked another music festival.
The sheriff said Paddock rented the room at the Ogden condo complex through Airbnb during the Life is Beautiful music festival, which went from Sept. 22-25.
“Was he doing pre-surveillance? We don’t know yet. This is all conjecture at this point,” Lombardo said.
A note was found in Paddock’s Mandalay Bay hotel room, but it was not a suicide note, the sheriff said. He did not detail what the note said.
No evidence indicates terrorism, FBI special agent Aaron Rouse said, but the investigation is ongoing.
Authorities are investigating whether Paddock acted alone or had accomplices. Lombardo, the sheriff, expressed skepticism that the gunman worked solo.
“Do you think this was all accomplished on his own? You’ve got to make the assumption he had to have some help at some point,” he said.
Lombardo cited the arsenal of lethal equipment found in Paddock’s homes in Reno and Mesquite, Nevada.
In Paddock’s Reno home, authorities found five handguns, two shotguns and a “plethora” of ammunition.
In his Mesquite, home, investigators found at least 19 more firearms, as well as explosives and several thousand rounds of ammunition.
“It’s troublesome this individual was able to move this amount of gear into a hotel room unassisted,” Lombardo said. ” It’s troublesome for the amount of stuff he had at both residences unassisted.”AlertMe