October 4, 2017 As new details emerge in the Las Vegas massacre, investigators are still trying to establish the suspected shooter’s motive in the attack. Law enforcement officials say new evidence gathered from the Mandalay Bay Hotel suite, the suspect’s homes and vehicle and interviews with people who knew him show he meticulously and deliberately planned the attack over a long period of time before executing the plan.
Clark County Sheriff, Joseph Lombardo told reporters Tuesday night that investigators are proceeding cautiously — in case criminal charges are warranted against someone else. During a press conference on Tuesday night, Sheriff Lombardo said:
“Did [Paddock] get radicalized unbeknownst to us? And we want to identify that source.”
There has been much debate over the FBI’s quick dismissal of claims by the Islamic State via official Amaq News Agency that Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old shooter was a “soldier” of the group converted to Islam months ago. The FBI argued there is no evidence linking the shooter to any international terrorist organization.
Law enforcement officials admit they have not established a motive for the mass shooting, but refuse to call it an act of terrorism. Without a motive, it is impossible to rule out terrorism. A search of Paddock’s vehicle in the hotel parking lot evidenced ammonium nitrate and tannerite, both components that can be used to make powerful explosives. The fertilizer compound was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
The FBI is hoping Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who is described as a “person of interest” can help piece together a motive. Danley was met by FBI agents at the airport when she returned to the United States from the Philippines Tuesday night.
Why is a motive for the shooting so important? Criminologists and terrorism experts say determining a motive for killing 58 people and injuring 527 more in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history can shed light on how to prevent future attacks. Some psychologists say determining the “why” behind such henious acts can provide closure, at least to some extent.
Cynthia Hodges holds a M.A. in Political Science from NEIU in Chicago, Illinois and a Post-Grad Professional Certificate in Disaster and Terrorism Management from University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill. In addition to a successful writing career, Cynthia is in the process of writing a book on the role of private security guards as first responders in the post 9/11 America. "My career has been a balance of security and education, and my passion for Homeland Security while protecting individual's Constitutional rights has grown as a result of the two."