FBI Finds No Motive In Las Vegas Shooting, Closes Investigation

More than a year after the FBI began its investigation, the agency has completed an analysis of the man behind the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, concluding there was “no single or clear motivating factor” driving Stephen Paddock’s killing rampage and subsequent suicide.

The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit shared key findings Tuesday from the report, which explored details of Paddock’s developmental, interpersonal and clinical history as they related to his behavior before the attack, as well the 11-minute massacre, during which he killed 58 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest festival and injured nearly 1,000 others.

“Throughout his life, Paddock went to great lengths to keep his thoughts private, and that extended to his final thinking about this mass murder,” officials said in a three-page synopsis.

In the end, the FBI determined the 64-year-old shooter, who rained a hail of bullets from a window of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino into the crowd below, was not driven by a religious, social or political agenda, nor did he have an accomplice to help him carry out his deranged mission. Just as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department determined in August, the FBI agreed that Paddock acted alone.

While some may be dismayed by the FBI’s inability to answer why Paddock targeted those people on that particular day, Mynda Smith, whose sister was fatally shot, told NPR that she would rather he take his reasons to the grave than to have Paddock alive.

“I truly believe if he had lived, he would have made my parents’ life miserable. We would’ve been caught up in trials and having to listen to things that he would say,” Smith said.

The absence of a single motivating factor is not unusual, according to the FBI. And it places Paddock within the typical profile of other mass murder shooters who are prompted to violence by a “complex merging” of various stressors.

There was no manifesto, no suicide note, nothing left behind to explain the attack, but investigators believe part of Paddock’s motivation was his “desire to die by suicide” and to “attain a certain degree of infamy via a mass casualty attack.”

Paddock, a retired Postal Service worker, accountant and real estate investor fatally shot himself as police arrived outside of his hotel suite on the 32nd floor the night of the attack. It was the single deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

The report depicts a man whose physical and mental health was deteriorating and who was planning for the end of his own life. “In reaction to this decline, Paddock concluded that he would seek to control the ending of his life via a suicidal act,” the report says. It also suggests the high-stakes gambler may have been inspired by his father, a bank robber and fugitive, who, in 1968, was on the FBI’s top-ten most-wanted list.

“Paddock’s father created a façade to mask his true criminal identity and hide his diagnosed psychopathic history, and in so doing ultimately achieved significant criminal notoriety,” the investigative panel concluded.

Paddock carefully planned the attack, with a yearlong buying spree of firearms and ammunition, careful Internet-based research of police tactics and response, site selection and ballistics.

As NPR’s Leila Fadel told All Things Considered, “He had 47 firearms the day he opened fire on people. He was researching police tactics and response, ballistics, and he was going to different sites to figure out where he could inflict the most damage on a lot of people.”


Traffic Cameras And Goodbye Brothels? The Legislature Begins

New laws could be coming that might affect your life.

Traffic cameras at red lights; city and federal elections on the same day; or outlawing prostitution.

All of them are new laws to be considered by state lawmakers, who started their bi-annual session this week.

Among the other bills to be considered: background checks for firearms; outlawing the death penalty; and a new way to distribute taxes for schools.

Rory Reid, former Democratic candidate for governor, and Warren Hardy, former Republican state senator, join State of Nevada to talk about the issues.


One bill being considered by the Legislature would try to lower the cost of prescription drugs by setting up a state pharmacy. Is this a good idea?

Reid: They’ve put pressure on themselves to do something about health care by saying it would be a priority during the campaign. But Governor Steve Sisolak has essentially inherited a budget from former Governor Brian Sandoval, which limits what he can do. This is something he can do.

Hardy: It is really the only thing the Legislature can do. I question whether it’s the right approach and whether it will actually save money. It is difficult to find a solution so the legislator who introduced it is grasping at something to do something and I think that’s helpful because it starts a conversation.

One bill being considered would eliminate the death penalty in Nevada. Will this pass?

Reid: Gov. Steve Sisolak is a religious man. He takes his Catholicism seriously. While on the Clark County Commission together, we never sat around and talked about the death penalty. We talked about potholes and where the streets should go. I’ve never spoken with the governor about that.

I do know his faith is important to him and that puts him in a pickle because he’s got the politics of the issue and his faith and it will be interesting to see what he does.

Republicans are seen as being tough on crime – historically – so would the desire to look tough on crime stop Republicans for voting on this?

Hardy: Yes. The tough on crime approach does work. The death penalty is a tough one. I think we’re at a place technologically where we could safely have the death penalty with DNA and everything else.

I wouldn’t want to take it out of the toolbox of law enforcement, but I think we need to, as a state, be very compassionate and reasonable in how we approach the death penalty.

One of the biggest tasks ahead for the Legislature could be the reconfiguring of the state’s funding formula for education. Clark County has complained for years that it generated more money for the state but didn’t get the taxes back – especially for higher need schools in urban areas. Will the funding formula get fixed?

Hardy: That is a debate that is long, long overdue that has never been a partisan, Republican versus Democrat, that has always been a north-rural versus south question.

The political power in the state for most of the years I’ve been involved in politics has resided in the north end of the state. It has nothing to do with the Democrats being in charge. It has to do with the South being in charge.

Those things need to be corrected. It is a matter of equity… Introduce a piece of legislation called the education equity act and get a fiscal note to figure out how much it’s going to cost to bring the south on par with the north and the rurals. And you’re going to be astonished.

It is not a desire to run [rural Nevada] over. It is not a desire to yank the rug out from under them but there is a desire to make sure our education funding and policies are equitable to the entire state.

Reid: Our funding formula was written in the 60s. It is one of the oldest funding formulas in the United States of America. It makes absolutely no sense.

If you are a kid in Nevada and you have a learning disability or you don’t speak English or you’re poor the funding formula doesn’t acknowledge that. All it speaks to is how far you are from your school. It weights the amount of money you receive based on transportation costs and nothing else.

We need to have a cost-based funding formula in Nevada where the amount of money allocated to a kid is based on the particular factors that confront that kid’s education.

Can the funding formula be changed in 120 days?

Hardy: No. We know the problem but it is going to take a while to implement because we have to do this without doing – for a lack of a better word – violence to the rurals and the north.

It is not going to get done in 120 days but we need to move in that direction starting immediately. This is really the first time in my political career that the political stars are aligned to fix it.

Reid: Here is where the rub is going to be and here is where Warren and I are probably going to disagree. The real problem isn’t that we have a 120-day legislative session. The real problem is this is going to cost money. Real money. If we do what I describe and have a cost-based funding formula and we do it in an equitable way. It’s going to cost more money and that’s where the trouble will be.

Hardy: I think there is a lot we can do that is revenue neutral to move us in that direction policy-wise, especially at higher ed.

The taxpayers of this state have always been willing to fund education but now we are to a point where we ought to have some conversations about stewardship of that money and accountability of what we are currently spending.

Is it time for Nevada to switch to an annual instead of a bi-annual Legislature?

Hardy: Absolutely.

Reid: Absolutely. It makes no sense the way we do it. They have a lot to do and 120 days to do it… We don’t pay them anything. We give them an impossible task and then we are upset when their work isn’t spectacularly done.

Hardy: The real challenge is the budget. We’re a large state now in terms of our budget. I think we need to follow the Utah model, which has a 60 budgetary session every other year. And then 120 policy plus budget.

Reid: Who in the world does their budget like the state of Nevada? Nobody. You make a two-year guess about how much money you’re going to have and then you spend it before you know you’re actually going to have it. Nobody does that.

Another bill would allow state workers to join or form unions and participate in collective bargaining. Is that a good idea?

Hardy: There are some things you can count on in life: you’re going to pay taxes, you’re going to die, the sun is going to come up tomorrow and — that bill is going to pass.

That bill is something the Democrats have been after the entire time I’ve been in the Legislature.

For those of us who don’t support it, the fiscal note…

Schoenmann: Why don’t you support it?

Hardy: Because the cost of public employment always goes up when you do it. We’re to blame because we didn’t fix the underlying problem. State employees don’t make enough money… We’re constantly training and not paying enough.

We’re a victim of our own inaction those of us who haven’t supported it in the past because had we provided the kind of salaries that state employees should have we probably would not be having this discussion.

You support the bill but the wages for state employees would go up. Where would the money come from for increased wages?

Reid: I think you need to consider the cost of not doing it… State workers are asked too much for too little. They, I think, don’t believe there is anyway their wages will increase unless they can bargain collectively.

This prospect is the only hope they believe they have for fair wages.


Police, volunteers search Vegas Strip for human trafficking victims

Las Vegas police and dozens of volunteers hit the famous Las Vegas Strip to search for victims of human sex trafficking Friday night.

The most famous street in the world attracts visitors by the thousands every night but on a Super Bowl weekend that number is easily 300,000 according to Las Vegas Metro Police.

All of those visitors also means another element shows up — human sex trafficking.

“We’ve got well over 100 folks here,” said Las Vegas Police Capt. John Pelletier, while speaking to a group of police volunteers.

The volunteers got their marching orders just after 8 p.m. to begin searching the shadows and handing out fliers containing the pictures of missing children.

“The trafficking on the Super Bowl in every city is now red flagged, all of the traffickers know this,” said Annie Lobert, who escaped human sex trafficking.

Lobert used to work the strip until she was able to escape.

She founded Hookers for Jesus and Destiny House.

“You are always on edge, so to leave you have to risk your life anyway,” said Lobert.

“Most of the time, when these girls leave and the traffickers know they’re leaving they will hunt them down and they will beat them almost to death,” added Lobert.

Lobert said it is the threat and the fear that keep so many in the shadows.

Las Vegas police vow to confront the danger head-on.

“We are going to make sure that those who do harm and evil understand, not in our town, no way, no how,” said Capt. Pelletier.

The Take Back the Strip initiative has seen success.

At least 4 human trafficking victims have been located since the program started 8 years ago.


Mounted police unit in Las Vegas is dwindling

One of the founding officers of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Mounted Unit is sounding the alarm.

“Crowds here in Las Vegas have become a norm,” said Retired Officer Kelly Korb.

Whether they’re demonstrating or celebrating, it’s common to have a large number of people come together for different events in the city.

Earlier this month, a fight broke out on Fremont Street after a parade downtown.

RELATED: Multiple people arrested, police officer injured after brawl on Fremont Street

“The safest most effective way to move a crowd is with horses,” said Korb.

Korb, who retired from the department in 2015, worries about the future of the unit and the impact on crowd control.

She is also the President of a non-profit that supports the mounted unit.

She says the LVMPD, like other departments across the country, is downsizing from four legs to just two.

In the past decade, she says the mounted unit has been nearly cut in half.

“At its height in 2009, we had 12 horses and seven officers,” said Korb, “”now, we have seven horses and four officers.”

Korb believes that one mounted officer is as effective as eight to ten officers on foot.

We reached out to LVMPD for comment on Wednesday morning. As of Friday evening, we have not heard back.

Meantime, there are ways you can always stay safe during events.

First, make sure you identify where the exits are. Remember, it’s safer to stay on the outside of the crowd.

Finally, if there’s a disturbance, stay calm and get to a safe area.


Valley businesses learn ways to respond to high-risk, active shooter situations

An active assailant causing a mass casualty crisis is something that can happen anytime, anywhere.

June is national safety month, so local businesses are learning ways to effectively respond to those types of situations.

The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon Thursday to give businesses a chance to hear tips on how to create a culture of security and what to do in a high-risk situation.

“Unfortunately, in our country, we’ve seen active shooters play a role in providing tragedy in communities,” said Thomas McClain, the director of operations for Help of Southern Nevada.

Cristen Drummond: “If there was an active shooter you wouldn’t know what to do?”
Richard Espinoza, resident life coordinator for the Art Institute of Las Vegas: “No, no we have had like certain training that’s through HR.”

On Thursday, some people in the community took time to listen to better ways to make their businesses and organizations safe.

“We have any time on campus anywhere; from 200 to 250 on campus,” McClain said. “We want to take care of our staff. We want to take care of our clients.”

Read More »

1 October investigators bond with Golden Knights

A special group of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department investigators is on pins and needles for Thursday night’s Vegas Golden Knights game.

Since 1 October the group of seven detectives has bonded and healed because of the Knights.

“Honestly, besides work, it’s all we talk about is the Knights,” said Marc Colon, an LVMPD detective.

The officers laugh and cheer together at the games, something they weren’t sure they’d ever do again.

“Most of us were working 18-20 hours a day and when the Golden Knights started playing. It just became our distraction,” said Trever Alsup, an LVMPD detective.

These men rushed straight to the concert grounds after the mass shooting. They barely saw their families, their beds, just days of bloodshed. They had no idea, less than two weeks after the massacre, moments before a Golden Knights home game, everything would change.


Clark County Schools Address Safety After Florida Shooting

In light of the Florida shooting, we are reminded that the safety of our children is a top priority. School safety concerns can be addressed to school staff members, police or anonymously through the Safe Voice application at safevoicenv.org or at (833) 216-SAFE.

In this frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV, students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., evacuate the school following a shooting, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (WPLG-TV via AP)

Citing Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Florida high school, Clark County School District Police today sent out email and phone alerts to parents outlining security measures in place in case of a critical incident.

“Safety is a team effort, and parents and students are often our best source for reporting suspicious instances or inappropriate behavior,” School District Police Capt. Ken Young said.

The district has a plan to address “all types of emergencies” on Clark County campuses, Young said. Precautions include keeping classroom doors locked at all times and having a single point of entry at schools to monitor who enters, he said.

Additional safety measures also are being implemented, such as “a system that will allow staff members to initiate hard lockdowns for the entire school from their classroom,” Young said.

Students and staff participate in monthly safety drills, and staff members are required to view emergency training videos yearly, Young said. School District Police train with other law enforcement agencies across the valley to prepare for emergencies.

At least one officer is assigned to each high school in the valley, and officers also patrol elementary and middle schools, Young said. Local agencies monitor rural schools.

Safety concerns can be addressed to school staff members, police, or anonymously through the Safe Voice application at safevoicenv.org or at 833-216-SAFE, Young said.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for stricter gun control, there have been 290 reported shootings at U.S. schools since 2013.

That year, a boy shot and killed his math teacher and wounded two students at a Sparks middle school before taking his own life.

A woman and her 11-year-old daughter escaped injury in July when a carjacking suspect followed them and shot at their vehicle at UNLV, authorities said.


LV Court Celebrates Graduation of Five Youth Offender Court

Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge Cedric Kerns will celebrate the graduation of five Youth Offender Court participants on Thursday, February 15, at 3 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers, located at 495 S. Main Street.

Las Vegas Municipal Court’s Youth Offender Court (Y.O. Court) is a specialized program that was created by Judge Kerns and focuses on offenders between the ages of 18-24-years old and their families. These young people and their families find their way into the court system while suffering with addiction issues.

These Y.O. Court graduates have completed an 18-month program. During this time, they have secured employment as well as reunited with their estranged families. They have obtained their GED/diploma’s, completed drug counseling, educational classes and maintain their commitment to their sobriety to become productive members of the Las Vegas community.

Parking is located across the street at the City Hall parking garage at 500 S. Main Street, and parking validation will be available at the entrance of Council Chambers on the second floor.