It’s one of the most horrifying and mystifying attacks in American history. On October 1, 2017, wealthy middle-age white male Stephen Paddock ended the lives of 58 concert-goers at Las Vegas’ Route 91 Harvest Festival when, from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino and resort, used a variety of powerful weaponry to terrorize, murder and injure the attendees of this small country music festival held near The Strip. CNN reports that even after an FBI investigation, the question of “why?” will likely never be known.
Paddock killed himself as police descended upon his makeshift sniper’s nest in a hotel room. According to the FBI report, which was conducted by the Las Vegas Review Panel of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, he took calculated steps to ensure that he’d be able to end his life before being captured – he set up surveillance cameras so they’d show him when authorities were approaching the room. The report also outlines that his attack became more accelerated as he realized confrontation with police was imminent.
There are few clues pointing as to why he would commit such a heinous atrocity, which resulted in 500 injuries in addition to the dozens of deaths, as well as untold emotional injury to those present and their loved ones. “Throughout his life, Paddock went to great lengths to keep his thoughts private,” the report said. “And that extended to his final thinking about this mass murder. Active shooters rarely have a singular motive or reason for engaging in a mass homicide.”
The report was conducted over a 12 month period. It did conclude that he acted alone and was not influenced, directed or enabled by ideological groups or thoughts. In other words, it’s been concluded that this incident doesn’t technically meet the definition of a terrorist attack. It was also determined that he did not have any personal vendetta against the Mandalay Bay hotel, the Route 91 Harvest festival, or any member of the audience.
Other than concluding that Paddock had experienced a decline in his mental and physical health and his finances had suffered prior to the shooting, the report also concluded that he acted in order to obtain some level of notoriety due to the massive body count. In August Las Vegas police reached a similar conclusion, closing their case without finding cause, co-conspirators or an overarching ideological influence.