Investigators probing the Las Vegas massacre continued searching Thursday for what could have motivated the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, even as they detailed more evidence suggestingÂ that the gunman meant to inflict even greater damage.
Since the moment Stephen Paddock fired the first round out of his high-rise hotel suite overlooking the Las Vegas Strip, unleashing a hail ofÂ gunfire on the concertgoers far below, authorities have pieced together many details about theÂ 64-year-old and his attack.
They know he planned extensively, prepared methodically, secretly assembling an arsenal of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his two-room suite in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Authorities haveÂ tracked his gun purchases, tried to piece together his movements in the hours and days before the attack and spoken to his relatives and girlfriend.
WhatÂ local and federal investigatorsÂ say remains elusive, though, is an explanation for whyÂ Paddock carried out the rampage, killingÂ 58 people andÂ injuring hundreds more before taking his own life. They also are still trying to determine whether he had any help.
Paddock, a retired accountant and avid gambler, was âdisturbed and dangerous,â Joseph Lombardo, the Las Vegas sheriff, said at a news briefing Wednesday night.
âStephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and living a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood,â Lombardo said.
Lombardo said authorities hoped to figure out whatÂ may have sparked Paddockâs rage.
âAnything that would indicate this individualâs trigger point and would cause him to do such harm, we havenât understood it yet,â he said.
As the sprawling investigation stretched across the country and around the world, authorities hoped that Marilou Danley, Paddockâs girlfriend, could provide some answers about his mind-set and what could have motivated him. But in a statement released after she was interviewed by the FBI in Los Angeles, Danley said she had no ideaÂ of what was about to happen.
âIt never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone,â Danley said in a statement that was read aloud by her attorney. SheÂ described Paddock as a âkind, caring, quiet manâ and said he neverÂ gave any sign âthat something horrible like this was going to happen.â
Danley was out of the country when the attack occurred, which she said was by Paddockâs design. PaddockÂ bought her a ticket to visit family in the Philippines, she said, and then wired money that he explained was meant to buy a home for Danleyâs relatives. In her statement, Danley said she thought this meant Paddock was breaking up with her.
âI am devastated by the deaths and injuries that have occurred and my prayers go out to the victims and their families and all those who have been hurt by these awful events,â Danley said. âI am a mother and a grandmother, and my heart breaks for all who have lost loved ones.â
Danley pledged to cooperate with authorities, notingÂ that she âvoluntarily flew back to Americaâ to speak with them.
Police have calledÂ her a âperson of interest,â viewing her as a key part of the investigation, although they have not suggested that she is considered an accomplice or involved in any way. Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the FBIâs Las Vegas division, declined to say whether DanleyÂ was still considered a person of interest at the briefing Wednesday night, although he said she was not in federal custody.
Rouse said that the investigation will take time, noting that the bureau was chasing leads âall across the United States and all across the world.â
The FBI has found no evidence to suggest that the attack was terrorism, Rouse said, adding that the investigation is continuing.
âWe will get to the bottom of this no matter how long it takes,â he said.
While investigators still do not know what set PaddockÂ off, they have found evidence that he may have intended an even deadlier attack.
When police stormed Paddockâs room, they found 23 guns, some equipped with âbumpâ stocks that can allow guns to fire at a more rapid clip, along with thousands of rounds of unused ammunition. Police also found a slip of paper in the room, which is visible in photos that have circulated online; while authorities have not said what was on the paper, Lombardo said it was not a suicide note.
In Paddockâs car, investigators also found several cases containing the chemical tannerite, an explosive, along with an additional 1,600 rounds of ammunition. At Paddockâs homes, authorities found dozens of other guns, additional ammunitionÂ and more tannerite.
All told, police have recovered 47 guns in the case, most of them bought since October 2016, according to theÂ Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Lombardo said police had focused on why Paddock bought 33 rifles between October 2016 and last Thursday, when he checked in at the hotel, and were exploring whether something happened that compelled himÂ to buy so many guns over that time period.
Lombardo saidÂ investigators found evidence that Paddock might have intended to escape the attack alive, althoughÂ he declined to say what that evidence was.
Police were still exploring whether anyone else was involved, Lombardo said. While authorities have described Paddock as the lone attacker, Lombardo pointed to the sheer amount of preparation involved and gear the gunman brought into his room in questioning whether he truly did everything alone.
âYouâve got to make the assumption he had to have some help at some point,â Lombardo said, adding thatÂ investigators have not identified any particular person.
But authorities were also exploring whether Paddock had another target before firing upon the country music festival Sunday night. Before that attack,Â Paddock had rented a room at the Ogden hotel in Las Vegas during a different music festival in September, Lombardo said, although it was still unclear what his intentions were there and authorities were still reviewing surveillance footage.
Speaking Wednesday night, Lombardo offered the most detailed timeline yet of the incident, describingÂ how officers heard the gunshots, closed in on Paddockâs suite and â 75 minutes later â breached the door to find Paddock dead, a handgun not far from his body.
The timeline offered by Lombardo depicts officers checking room after room, unsure what they would find inside. GunshotsÂ first rang out at 10:05 p.m., and two minutes later, two officers arrived on the floor below Paddock and heard gunfire above them, Lombardo said.
The gunfire ended, LombardoÂ said, at 10:15 p.m. At 10:17 p.m., Lombardo said, officers arrived on the hotelâs 32nd floor, and just a minute later, a hotel security officer relayed that he was shot. By 10:30 p.m., eight more officers were on the floor, clearing room after room.
As with the rest of the attack,Â Paddock appeared merciless and meticulous. He set up cameras in his room and the hallway toÂ monitor police officers as they approached.Â At 11:20 p.m., SWAT officers breached the door and found Paddockâs body, Lombardo said. Before they arrived, he had put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. It remainsÂ unclear when exactly Paddock shot himself.
This story will be updated throughout the day.