More than two weeks after the horrific massacre at a country music concert on the Las Vegas Strip, which left 58 dead and hundreds injured, there are still more questions than answers.
And though conspiracy theories tend to swirl around these events, gaining traction on social media and rising to the top of YouTube search results, they’re thriving in this case because the actual facts are still so sparse. Though it seems clear the mass shooting wasn’t a “false flag” attack, as one video claimed, nor was antifa responsible, as Alex Jones alleged, there’s still a lot we don’t know.
Why did the hallway leading to Stephen Paddock’s room apparently have no surveillance, in a city that’s blanketed with security cameras?
Nothing goes unseen in Vegas. The cameras are everywhere.
The casinos on the strip, in an effort to ward off any attempts at cinematic heists, are always on high alert. Guards are on patrol, and anyone moving in or out of any gambling establishment will inevitably be caught on video.
Somehow, though, the hallway outside the gunman’s room at the Mandalay Bay hotel was a blind spot. That’s where Paddock shot Jesus Campos, a hotel security guard, in the leg, minutes before unloading clip after clip on the crowd at the music festival below from his 32nd-floor window.
A security expert who helped install an early version of the Mandalay Bay’s surveillance system estimates that there are likely some 3,000 cameras around the hotel, according to the Los Angeles Times.
But it took about 12 minutes before security was able to make it to Paddock’s room, leading to another nagging question:
When, exactly, was Campos shot?
Las Vegas police initially said Campos was shot at 10:05 p.m., which is when Paddock opened fire on the festival, before modifying the timeline to say Campos was shot at 9:59 p.m. — six minutes before Paddock opened fire. Ultimately, the cops changed their timeline back to their original version of events, stating that Campos was shot at 10:05.
But regardless of when Campos was shot, by the time the police got to the hotel room, for reasons still unknown, Paddock had already stopped shooting.
Where did Campos go after the shooting?
He disappeared for five days, before mysteriously resurfacing on the set of the Ellen Degeneres show.
One minute Campos was waiting outside of a meeting between his union president and the press, scheduling interviews in the wake of the shooting, but by the time the meeting was over, David Hickey, the president of Campos’s union, told the Los Angeles Times that he had left.
He apparently checked himself into a QuickCare health clinic, according to the Los Angeles Times, but he cancelled all of his press appearances for the next five days, including all of the press appearances he’d booked on the major networks.
Reporters hoped that, given the discrepancies in the police timeline, Campos might be able to clarify how things went down that night.
On Wednesday, he finally surfaced — on TV, talking to Ellen Degeneres. He didn’t clarify much.
What about Paddock’s girlfriend?
The week before the shooting, Paddock told his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, that he’d found a cheap flight to the Philippines for her to visit her family. He wired her money while she was there and told her to buy a house for her family, according to the New York Times. In a statement released to the press, she speculated that Paddock booked her a flight so she wouldn’t talk him out of his plan.
Danley has also described Paddock as a “quiet, caring man,” and said that she hadn’t seen any indication that he had plans to do anything like kill dozens of people. She’s since been questioned by the FBI, but hasn’t been heard from otherwise.
And the shooter’s motive?
We still don’t know what pushed Paddock over the edge.
With other mass shootings, the motives, or at least some hint of a motive, came to light fairly quickly. Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook school shooter, was obsessed with the Columbine massacre and struggled with mental illness. James Holmes, who opened fire in a movie theater in Colorado in 2012, planned for years how he would go about killing a large number of people, and said he was having a psychotic episode during the shooting. And while the motivation for the June 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting is still somewhat murky, Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in the Orlando gay club, told 911 operators that he’d pledged allegiance to ISIS, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
But police say they still have no idea what motivated Paddock to carry out the massacre.
ISIS initially claimed responsibility, but experts doubt there’s any connection between Paddock and the terrorist organization — an FBI spokesman confirmed to the New York Times that they found no known connection between Paddock and ISIS.
The FBI’s interviews with Paddock’s girlfriend were also reportedly focused on uncovering his motive. But, so far, there are very few public clues as to what led him to open fire on the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest music festival.
Who gets all the donation money?
Cash has poured in for the victims of the shooting: More than $10 million has been raised in the last couple of weeks for the victims of the shooting. But who gets it?
Victims will have to apply and be vetted to get their portion, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Kenneth Feinberg, an attorney whose small law firm has a near monopoly on mediating disaster compensation, according to the New York Times, will help distribute the funds. Last year, he split the nearly $30 million in donated funds among 229 victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting.
Feinberg says victims can expect their cash within three to six months, but a local committee needs to be brought together before the process can move forward.