On October 1, the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in U.S. history happened in Las Vegas during a country music festival, killing 58 and injuring 489. But we all know that.
Since the shooting, there has been an extreme amount of information floating around. Regarding the majority of information coming from news outlets and social media, it is simply too early to confirm anything. However, as more evidence comes to light, it becomes more and more apparent that the events in Vegas that night did not occur as the media reported it. There is hard evidence of multiple shooters, there is confusion over official police timelines, there are simply too many missing facts.
So far, only these facts have held true in every reported story. Authorities such as the LVPD (Las Vegas Police Dept.) and the FBI confirmed the gunman to be Stephen Paddock. He was shooting from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay, down into a plaza full of country music fans. After the shooting ended, he was found dead in his hotel room, with seemingly self-inflicted gunshot wounds. In his room, there were a multitude of weapons and stockpiled ammo. His van was also revealed to be loaded with explosive devices. Fifty-Eight were killed and four hundred eighty nine were injured at the country music festival.
However, besides these few facts, no two official stories corroborate with each other. Not the ridiculous conspiracy theories, not the speculation from people hundreds of miles away, the official testimonies and reports straight from Vegas don’t match up with each other in some very important ways.
Firstly, there are conflicting reports about the total number of shooters. While news outlets have hyperfocused on Paddock as the lone suspect, there have been several reports of there having been up to four different shooters at several different locations around Las Vegas. There have been numerous social media reports that bystanders were told by Vegas Police and security that there were seven confirmed gunmen, and multiple hotels had confirmed fatalities, including the Bellagio, the Aria, the Cosmopolitan and the New York New York, though these claims have been unconfirmed today. There have been several recordings of that night uploaded online that show at least two guns firing at audibly different locations, in completely different patterns, dismissing the claim of the second sound being echoing gunshots from one gun. But as the night continued, these reports evaporated from the narrative completely and the Mandalay Bay became known as the only hotel affected, and Paddock as the lone shooter. Witnesses could look out their windows and see alarms going off in the Cosmopolitan when news reports were isolating the Mandalay. There are also reports of panicking crowds hearing gunshots at the Bellagio, a hotel a full mile away from Mandalay Bay, almost an hour after the shooting at the Mandalay ended. These reports have been corroborated by the police radio reports.
There are also concerns over the official timelines constructed by the LVPD and by the Mandalay Bay officials. In the original timeline created by the LVPD, a Mandalay Bay security officer was said to have interrupted Paddock’s shooting spree and himself got shot. But the FBI claims that the guard was shot before the official shooting started, at about 9:59 pm, where the shooting started at about 10:05 pm. The guard, Jesus Campos, immediately reported his situation to the rest of the staff, saving another worker in the process. This raises several questions. Why it took the police so long to find the shooter’s room if Campos reported it immediately, or why the shooting paused around 10:15 if not for Campos’ intervention. The owners of the Mandalay have stated that they do not agree with the current police timeline, and the police responded by saying that there were still too many unknowns and their timeline was prone to mistakes.
There is also heavy suspicion considering how Paddock was found in his hotel room. Firstly, of two windows he shot out, one was in the room adjacent to his own. This secondary room had no weapons or ammo stockpiled, and was only accessible by one door, that the police had to break down to get into. Secondly, the position of Paddock’s body also has several suspicious aspects to it, such as the placement of the guns around him or location of bullet casings around him. When Paddock was found lying on his back, he had two guns awkwardly wedged under his left leg. The ammo shells next to his head also appeared to have landed in his blood rather than be covered by it. There are also two very distinct puddles of blood, which is odd considering he was said to have shot himself in the head, which would be very difficult to do twice, with enough time between for one puddle to dry more than another. These aspects have led to the assumption that someone was possibly in the room after Paddock was shot. Thirdly, when Paddock was found, he still had a stack of extended magazines in the room. To put it simply, what kind of shooter would off themselves and end their spree with 14000 rounds of ammunition left?
There have also been concerns over Paddock’s motive for the shooting, something that has been virtually nonexistent besides media speculation. While true that it takes an extreme amount of anger and hate to commit such a heinous act, Paddock had no previous criminal record. He was not affiliated with any hate groups of any kind. He was not open with his position on the political spectrum, despite the various political outlets pinning “Antifa” or “Trump Supporter” on him. As proclaimed by his brother, he didn’t even have parking tickets. He was a retired accountant who gambled a lot, and was known to be a bit of a heavy drinker. Experts have blamed his rage on a multitude of things, including his gambling creating a stressful mindset, psychotic effects of Valium (a drug he abused at a time), his possibly damaging childhood (He was born on the run), and even his very genes (His father was a diagnosed psychopath, as well as a serial bank-robber). While there is no confirmed motive, these possible causes do seem to fill in enough gaps in the story to give Paddock enough motive.
And though most information mentioned above is as credible as the media’s reporting, some stories come from less credible sources, though equally interesting. Three weeks prior to the shooting, there was a warning on the website 4Chan (an online anonymous messaging board) to stay away from Las Vegas. A user named “-john” told the board that something very lethal would happen there. He claimed that an event would occur that would incite much harsher gun laws, especially ones that include mandatory metal detectors and backscatter machines in casinos and hotels, eventually working into federal buildings and high schools. Said legislation would cause metal detector/ backscatter machine producers such as OSI and Chertoff to see a stock skyrocket and sales to go up exponentially. Surely enough, after the shooting, OSI and Chertoff saw huge jumps in stock prices. To further add fuel to the fire, 4Chan threads continued on about possible BlackWater involvement (a private militant security company who has contracts with the hotels on the Vegas Strip), where it was speculated that a terrorist group had a portable nuke that was set to go off in Vegas, and Blackwater caused the shooting to prevent the nuke from going off and killing everyone in Vegas. Another narrative 4Chan proclaims is that Paddock was an undercover FBI Agent making an illegal arms deal. That he was found out by ISIS and was killed, then ISIS went through with the massacre, leaving the scene before apprehension. This theory is backed by ISIS’ claiming of the attack. (It should be noted that 4Chan is notorious for spreading false information about major events, so their credibility is very low, and all claims they make should be taken with a grain of salt.)
Overall, the general public knows almost nothing about Vegas. And while the news outlets insist on focusing on the survivor stories instead of sorting out the mess of information, the general public is going to stay in the dark, leaving us more susceptible to conspiracy theories and insane conclusions, which is never healthy. We don’t know nearly enough about what happened in Vegas, but no one seems to care enough to sift through the information and find the truth.