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Investigators Still Seeking A Motive


It's been nearly a week since Stephen Paddock opened fire on fans at a country music festival in Las Vegas before killing himself. Fifty-eight people were killed, hundreds more still struggle with injuries. And there is yet again a debate in America over guns and mass violence. What's missing is any clue about why this man may have opened fire from his vantage point at the Mandalay Bay hotel. North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann is part of our team in Las Vegas and joins us.

Brian, thanks for being with us.

BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: Morning, Scott.

SIMON: A remarkable press conference yesterday when Undersheriff Kevin McCahill (ph) essentially said they've got no idea, nothing seems to trace back. And he sounded frustrated about the fact that they just don't know much.

MANN: Yeah, Scott, it's not like the investigation hit a brick wall here. It's more like they got to the other side of that brick wall and found nothing - no note, no history that offers a pattern, nothing on his computers. A lot of what McCahill spoke about was the growing cloud of conspiracy theories that have been spreading online kind of filling that void.


KEVIN MCMAHILL: We are aware of all aspects of this case to include the rumor, innuendo and supposition by many in the public. And I get it. We all want answers.

SIMON: That's the Undersheriff Kevin McCahill. Now, Brian, police in Las Vegas again suggested yesterday somebody must have known or seen some flair or had some suspicion about the shooter's activities and just didn't notify the authorities. But is there any evidence that's the case?

MANN: Not so far. It seems hard to fathom - how could Paddock have planned this carnage so meticulously, so thoroughly over such a long time without tipping his hand? Surely someone saw something out of place, right? And now with the FBI putting up billboards asking people to come forward that seems to be what they're suggesting. But so far at least it doesn't seem to be the case. Everyone from his girlfriend, his brother, the guys who sold him his guns and neighbors never felt a glimmer of suspicion.

SIMON: What more did we learn yesterday about the explosives that were apparently in his arsenal?

MANN: Yeah, this is a scary thing. We know that he had an explosive substance called Tannerite, 50 pounds of the stuff in his car. But police say there's no evidence he was building IEDs or bombs. And here again they say they just have no idea what he was planning to do with this stuff.

SIMON: And Vice President Mike Pence is going to be in Las Vegas today.

MANN: Yeah, that's right, just days after President Trump visited survivors and first responders. The vice president will today take part in a prayer walk organized by Mayor Carolyn Goodwin (ph). This is the first visit to the city for him since Sunday. But Pence has already donated blood, and he also called into a country music show on Sirius XM this week, talking about the carnage at the concert here. Pence said, I think we will come through this stronger than ever before.

SIMON: Brian, Las Vegas is Glitter Gulch. This is the place where people go - from around the world go to have a good time. What is Las Vegas like now?

MANN: Yeah, it is complicated here. You know, there are giant billboards urging people to donate blood and offering counseling. And that's right next to these billboards for concerts and casinos and parties. So, you know, in many ways the Strip is back open for business, a lot of people in town just on vacation. But set against that are these big memorials, piles of flowers and vigils. And so the contrast between Las Vegas normal and this grim event less than a week ago is jarring.

SIMON: Brian Mann in Las Vegas, thanks so much for being with us.

MANN: Thank you, Scott. [POST PRODUCTION CORRECTION: In this report , Undersheriff Kevin McMahill is mistakenly referred to as Kevin McCahill and Mayor Carolyn Goodman is mistakenly referred to as Carolyn Goodwin.] Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: October 9, 2017 at 11:00 PM CDT
In this report, Undersheriff Kevin McMahill is mistakenly referred to as Kevin McCahill and Mayor Carolyn Goodman is mistakenly referred to as Carolyn Goodwin.
Brian Mann