Recent-leaked photos of the Las Vegas shooter’s hotel room have confounded Vegas police and driven public speculation about the act of terror. The photos show the Mandalay Bay room from which Stephen Paddock opened fire on Sunday night, killing 58 attendees at a music festival across the street.
Paddock reportedly used multiple automatic and semi-automatic weapons during the shooting, which lasted for ten minutes and injured over 500. 72 minutes after the shootings began, a SWAT team broke down the door of his hotel room. Paddock turned his gun on himself, and he was pronounced dead by the time the officers were able to break in.
And a set of images released on October 4th show the crime scene, including Paddock’s body. In a Tuesday conference, Undersheriff Kevin McMahill confirmed that the photos were real, and said that the police had started an internal probe to “determine the source of the leaks of those photos to the public.”
Photographs of the entrance show bullet holes in the bottom of the door, confirming that Paddock attempted to shoot at the officers before they entered the room.
There is debris on the floor from the SWAT team’s forced entry, and the hole in the door shows one of Paddock’s many automatic weapons propped up on a bipod on the floor.
One of the most shocking images shows Paddock’s body on the floor, two guns lying next to his feet and spent casings strewn around him.
While the pictures are all fairly blurry, there is a white object on his bedside table that may be a note. Police have not yet indicated whether a note was found and, as of yet, the public knows little about Paddock’s possible motives.
The pictures of the rest of the room are equally grim, showcasing multiple military-grade assault rifles, many of them propped up to facilitate quick firing.
While brother Eric insisted that Paddock had only “a couple of [legal] handguns,” police found an arsenal of over 40, with almost twenty brought to his hotel room.
Paddock’s collection included four DDM4 rifles, which have a flash suppressor that makes it difficult to see where the blast is coming from, three FN-15 rifles, and an AK-47.
It also included a Colt AR-15, which has a dual reputation as America’s most popular gun and the one that must be used by the country’s mass shooters.
The set of guns Paddock brought to his hotel room also included twelve guns modified with “bump stocks,” hardware that allows a shooter to turn a semi-automatic into an automatic.
The stock “bumps” trigger continually as long as the shooter is holding it down, allowing the shooter to shoot much more quickly than they could manually and essentially replicate an automatic trigger system.
These stocks are often used to get around state regulations on fully automatic weapons, but they themselves are not illegal.
All of Paddock’s guns had been bought legally and raised no red flags. Vegas’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms confirm that his purchase of more than 33 firearms over the past years was not considered significant.
The pictures of Paddock’s “sniper’s nest” betray careful planning.
During the investigation, police found two cameras that Paddock installed so he could look out on the hallway, one in the peephole on his door and one in a room service cart outside of it.
These concealed cameras enabled him to watch for approaching police and SWAT team members. Indeed, a security guard in the hall just after the shooting was “non-fatally shot” when Paddock became suspicious of him.
There was also the third camera in the room, set up to film the shooter. As of the publication of this article, nothing is known about why Paddock filmed himself, or why he planned and executed the massacre.