Vegas shooter booked rooms facing Lollapalooza in Chicago

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 4: Las Vegas resident Elisabeth Apcar lights candles at a makeshift memorial at the northern end of the Last Vegas Strip, October 4, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 
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Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock booked rooms in a Chicago hotel facing the Lollapalooza music festival in August, a law enforcement source confirmed to USA TODAY.

Paddock, 64, booked one room at the Blackstone Hotel starting Aug. 1, two days before the festival opened. He booked a second room Aug. 3. The Blackstone confirmed in a statement that rooms were booked in Paddock's name during Lollapalooza but that he did not stay there on those dates.

Both rooms had a checkout date of Aug. 6, corresponding with the final day of the music festival that drew tens of thousands of concert-goers to Grant Park alongside Lake Michigan. It was unclear if Paddock ever used the room or was in Chicago during the festival, according to the law enforcement source who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

The lineup for the festival included the artists Lorde, Chance the Rapper, and Arcade Fire. Among the attendees at the festival was former President Obama’s daughter, Malia.

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“We are aware of the media reports and have been in communication with our federal partners,” the Chicago Police Department said in a statement. “As you saw earlier this week the city conducts extensive public safety planning and training around major events, in close coordination with our law enforcement partners, to ensure public safety.


In addition to Paddock’s bookings in Chicago, a federal law enforcement official says the gunman also expressed interest in Boston in the past several months, prompting authorities to notify local authorities there.

The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly, said Thursday that information referencing other locations is being drawn from investigators’ continuing analysis of Paddock’s communications devices.

Although investigators believe the digital and physical trail Paddock has left in his wake is crucial to resolving his motive for the attack, the official cautioned that the information recovered — including his interests in locations beyond Las Vegas — have so far not led authorities to any firm conclusions.

Investigators looking into Paddock's background and his movements before his killing spree erupted in Las Vegas say he must have had some help along the way given his huge arsenal and precise plans, but they have no idea who that might be.

His girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62, said in a statement that she had no idea what he was planning or why.

Danley, who was in the Philippines when the shooting occurred, flew back to the United States and is cooperating with authorities.

“He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen,” Danley said in a statement read by her lawyer outside FBI headquarters in Los Angeles.


Paddock lived a low-key, private life, including spending hours playing highstakes video poker in Las Vegas casinos. He was such a steady customer that hotels gave him rooms  for free, including one on the 32-second floor of the Mandalay Bay casino overlooking a country music festival.

The wealthy real estate investor opened fire Sunday from his multistory perch onto the crowd below, killing 58 people and injuring almost 400. He then shot and killed himself as police tried to break into the room.

 

 

Investigators trying to determine what triggered the massacre say Paddock's plans were meticulous. He even rented an apartment in a Las Vegas high-rise over another music festival the weekend before the massacre, possibly as a dry run.

He also amassed a huge arsenal of weapons and explosives, and set up surveillance equipment outside his room to detect any approaching outsiders, including police.

Investigators saye he also had a plan to survive the shooting and try to escape, though would not say how.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a news conference Wednesday night that Paddock must have had some help along the way given his huge arsenal, the explosive materials found in his car, and his meticulous plan, but they don’t know who that might be.

Even the No. 2 official in the FBI said Wednesday he was surprised investigators have not uncovered more about why a man with no obvious criminal record would cause so much bloodshed.

“There’s all kinds of things that surprise us in each one of these events. That’s the one in this one, and we are not there yet,” FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said. “We have a lot of work to do.”

“This individual and this attack didn’t leave the sort of immediately accessible thumbprints that you find on some mass casualty attacks,” McCabe said. “Putting aside the somewhat dubious claims of responsibility that we see in each one of these instances, we look for actual indicators of affiliation, of motive, of intent, and so far we’re not there. We don’t have those sort of indicators.”

Investigators analyzing Paddock’s computer, cellphone and other electronic devices have found no obvious ideological motive, no clear connection to extremists or activist groups or outward display of mental illness.

Paddock wired $100,000 to the Philippines days before the shooting, said a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly because of the continuing investigation, according to the Associated Press.

Danley, who was overseas for more than two weeks, said she was initially pleased when she was wired money from Paddock to buy a house for her family in the Philippines. But she later feared it was a way to break up with her.

She said she loved Paddock as a “kind, caring, quiet man” and hoped they would have a future together. She said she was devastated by the carnage and would cooperate with authorities as they struggle to get inside Paddock’s mind.

Contributing: Associated Press