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Las Vegas shooter may have had illegal automatic weapon

Las Vegas police and emergency vehicles sit on scene following a deadly shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip early Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

PHOENIX — The man accused of fatally shooting at least 50 people and injuring more than 500 at a Las Vegas Strip concert may have used an automatic weapon in the rampage and a former FBI agent said if so, that would loom large in the investigation.

“To have (an automatic weapon), it’s very hard. I’d be surprised if he actually had a license to own one of those,” retired FBI agent Rich Frankel told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Monday.

Police said suspect Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, was found dead late Sunday in the Mandalay Hotel and Casino room from where he’d taken a rapid-fire weapon and blasted a crowd of 22,000 at a country music concert.

At least 10 other weapons were found in the room.


Witnesses reported hearing what sounded like a machine gun.

“You could see a flash-flash-flash-flash,” Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said.

Owning a fully automatic weapon requires a federal license. “Usually only SWAT teams or military (have them) and they only come out in actual engagement,” Frankel said.

“You would not have somebody in the military just walking down the street with one here in the United States,” Frankel said.

“The fact that he was able to get an automatic weapon, that is going to be a major part of this investigation.”

The gun could have been converted into a fully automatic.

Frankel said, “They’ll look at how he got the guns. Were they legally bought? They’re going to go through this guy’s entire life to determine how this happened. … if people knew about this and just did not come forward.”

Police had searched for Marilou Danley, 62, who lived with Paddock in a house in a retirement community 80 miles north of Las Vegas. They said she was no longer a person of interest.

“A lone wolf is always the hardest type of case because if he isn’t talking to anyone, then you have no way of getting that intelligence ahead of time,” Frankel said.

President Donald Trump said at a press conference he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday to with first responders and their families.


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