Americas

Las Vegas gunman fired on security guard before mass shooting

Las Vegas gunman fired on security guard before mass shooting
Agents from the FBI use binoculars from the broken window where a gunman opened fire at the Mandalay Bay hotel. Photos: AP
Published: 9:16 AM, October 10, 2017
Updated: 1:42 PM, October 10, 2017

LOS ANGELES — The Las Vegas gunman opened fire on a security guard six minutes before he rained down bullets on a crowd and killed 58 people, officials said on Monday (Oct 9) in a change to the timeline of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

The shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, was seen on numerous occasions in Las Vegas without any person accompanying him and he gambled the night before the shooting, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a news conference. He killed himself after the attack.

"This individual purposely hid his actions leading up to this event, and it is difficult for us to find the answers," said Mr Lombardo, who said he was frustrated with the speed of the investigation.

Mr Paddock sprayed an outdoor concert with bursts of gunfire from high above in a Las Vegas hotel window on Oct. 1, killing 58 and wounding hundreds more, before shooting himself.

"In coordination with the FBI's behavioural analysis unit, a comprehensive picture is being drawn as to the suspect's mental state and currently we do not believe there is one particular event in the suspect's life for us to key on," Mr Lombardo said.

There is no indication anyone other than Paddock fired on the crowd, Lombardo said, adding investigators are talking to family members and the girlfriend of the gunman.

Doves are released for each victim of the Route 91 Harvest music festival mass shooting at City Hall plaza in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. Photo: Reuters

Paddock shot and wounded a security guard who came to his floor at the Mandalay Bay hotel to investigate an open door down near Paddock's suite, Mr Lombardo said, providing new details of what occurred immediately before the mass shooting.

The security guard, Jesus Campos, was struck in the leg as the gunman, from behind his door, shot into the hallway on the 32nd floor. Paddock apparently detected Mr Campos via surveillance cameras he set up outside his hotel suite, police have said.

Paddock shot the guard at 9.59pm local time, Mr Lombardo said, shortly before raining down bullets on the Route 91 Harvest festival in an attack that began at 10.05pm and lasted 10 minutes.

Police officers found Mr Campos when they arrived on the floor.

Paddock had a document in the room with him that contained numbers, Mr Lombardo said, adding he could not immediately say what purpose the figures served.

Las Vegas police officer David Newton told CBS News programme "60 Minutes" on Sunday that he entered the room and saw a note on the shooter's nightstand with numbers that appeared to be designed to help his aim.

It was unclear why Paddock stopped firing at the crowd, suggesting he may have initially planned to escape, Mr Lombardo said.

He shot at jet fuel tanks at McCarran International Airport and had protective gear in the hotel suite and explosives in his parked car, Mr Lombardo said. REUTERS