• Jim Leach


Updated: Aug 17, 2018


The count of those who have died has been said to be 59. This figure describes 58 victims plus the shooter which makes a total of 59. There are still many in the hospital and the death toll may go higher.

On October 5, the local authorities indicated the killer probably could not have acted alone. I learned long ago in the law enforcement business you better be careful about saying anything could not have happened. You can be very surprised at what people can and will do, especially when they are mission oriented. On October 6 police stated there was no one else in the hotel room but Paddock. Paddock may have had help from hotel employees or others who had no idea what they were helping Paddock do! He was well known at all the major casinos on the Las Vegas strip and was known to be a big gambler. He was probably a very good tipper and anyone who worked at the hotel would have been happy to help him with his luggage, golf bags or other bags he wished to have carried to his room. It has been established he made many trips back and forth to his room.  Paddock kept a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his room door the entire time he was there. If there was an accomplice prior to the event, the discovery of a motive may lead police to identifying that person.

On 10/5, police said Paddock was not acting as a terrorist. We do not yet know whether he was influenced by extremist philosophy or not. Hopefully there will be data exchanges on some of his computers or other digital devices that will give us a statement of his objectives, some type of manifesto or show a pattern of contact with some extremist organizations or people involved with those organizations. Please keep in mind just because no communication of this type is discovered on his devices, he could have been making these contacts by another medium that could not be traced directly to him.

There is now speculation that Paddock hoped to escape and commit other crimes. The intent to escape could explain the cameras he placed in the hallway and on the food cart in the hallway. The cameras were not recording so the only explanation for them to be used is for surveillance of the police approaching his room so he could he could murder the officers. Obviously he was watching the cameras and saw the security officer getting near his room and he shot the officer. Paddock had barricaded the stairwell. He placed cameras in the hallway as well as inside the room. The security guard actually was responding to a “door ajar” alarm from a room near Paddock’s room, not the room the killer was actually staying in. Paddock must have assumed he had been discovered when his surveillance cameras saw security coming down the hall. He also had surveillance cameras inside his suite.  He had a 2 room suite, so maybe he had cameras inside the suite so he could be in one room and monitor what was happening in the other room.

Fifty pounds of Tannarite, an explosive material which can be detonated by gunfire, along with 1600 rounds of ammunition were found in Paddock’s vehicle. Experts say that much Tannarite could have caused an explosion that would destroy a large part of the hotel. Even though a high powered rifle could detonate the explosive, he probably didn’t have a clear shot at his vehicle from his room. This may further indicate Paddock planned to escape and cause further damage. Even though there was an extreme amount of planning and preparation in the execution of these murders, the killer was obviously not thinking rationally. Perhaps he truly believed that in all the confusion he would actually be able to escape.

The timeline of his activity indicates he stopped shooting after he shot the security guard. The reason it took as long as it did for SWAT officers to enter the room is because the situation transformed from an active shooter threat to a barricaded suspect issue when Paddock stopped shooting. This change in status of the crisis gave police time to clear guests from other rooms in the area and get them out of harm’s way. It is unknown if he killed himself when he shot the security guard or killed himself later. The murderer probably thought the approach of the guard was the first signal that police had found him and would soon charge into the room and neutralize him, so he may have taken matters into his own hands and committed suicide.

Apparently Paddock was scouting out other possible targets. A man by the same name reserved a room in Chicago overlooking an area where a concert was to be held and he also researched hotels in Boston near Fenway Park. There is no evidence he traveled to either one of these locations. He booked another room in Las Vegas on the weekend prior to his murderous rampage. This room overlooked the “Life is Beautiful” concert which is said to be a larger concert than the “Route 91 Festival” that he attacked.

A note was found in his hotel room and it contained numbers. The meaning of the numbers is unknown. At this time authorities say it was not a suicide note or any kind of manifesto, however experts at deciphering coded messages are still investigating the true meaning of the note. There is speculation the note could simply be a “to do” list the murderer devised to make sure he performed all the tasks he needed to do in order to accomplish his mission.

Paddock attempted to buy “tracer” bullets. There are conflicting accounts as to whether or not he actually bought them or not, but either way, he didn’t use them when committing these murders.  Supposedly he hoped the tracer rounds would improve his aim when he was shooting in the darkness. The ATF spokesperson says it is legal to purchase these munitions in the state of Nevada.

Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilu Danley, who is from the Philippines but is an Australian citizen,  returned to the U.S. and agreed to be interviewed by law enforcement. She says she knew nothing about the murders. Marilu describes Paddock as lying in bed moaning and screaming and demonstrating “mental health symptoms”. Paddock was taking anti-anxiety medication (Valium) but the drugs did not seem to keep him from being able to function in a normal fashion. She saw no recent change in his behavior.  Ms. Danley describes Paddock as a “kind man”. The murderer sent her $100,000 and Marilu thought the gift might indicate he was planning on breaking up with her. She says she was surprised when Paddock gave her a ticket to travel to the Philippines, but Paddocks hair stylist says he spoke of sending Marilu to the Philippines two months ago. The girlfriend was present for this conversation, so she should have known her trip was planned. This discrepancy in stories could be significant.  People familiar with the couple say Paddock demeaned and belittled her in front of others.

The murderer has been described as being very generous to those he cared about, but did not care to have contact with those he didn’t really care about. He supposedly did not have much conversation with other gamblers when he was at the casinos or with neighbors when he was home. He normally paid in cash, even buying one house by paying cash.

The ATF says none of the weapons had been mechanically altered to fire in a fully automatic mode. 12 of the guns in the hotel room had been fitted with a “Bumpfire” attachment that basically allows the weapon to be fired as an automatic. The Bumpfire is totally legal to possess.

Jim Leach served as Special Agent in Charge for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. His book, “You Can Tell ME, a simple guide to effective interviewing” can be found at

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