Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock searched online for ‘most crowded beaches in America’

Two weeks before the shooting, Paddock asked Google if police used explosives

Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock appears to have researched multiple locations before settling on the Route 91 Harvest Festival for committing his October 1 gun massacre, which killed 58 people and injured over 700 more.

The final toll of those injured has gone up significantly; Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo revealed the updated numbers in a press conference on Friday announcing the release of a preliminary investigative report.

The report details, among other things, Stephen Paddock’s online behavior in the weeks and months leading up to the Las Vegas shooting, the deadliest gun massacre in modern U.S. history.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Paddock had performed searches of Boston-based public venues, including Fenway Park, and had rented a room at a hotel overlooking Chicago’s Lalapalooza festival but did not appear for his reservation. The search activity reflected in the investigative report reveals that Paddock also researched Venice and Santa Monica, California.

On May 18, 2017, Paddock performed Google map searches of Venice Beach and Fenway Park, and looked at additional locations in Boston and near Venice Beach, which neighbors Santa Monica to the south. He also performed Google searches for “biggest open air concert venues in USA,” and “how crowded does Santa Monica Beach get.”

In early September, Paddock performed multiple searches for information about the Life is Beautiful music festival in Las Vegas, and ultimately rented multiple units at a condominium complex overlooking the concert venue. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Paddock was staying there during the festival, which took place from September 22 through September 24, and was seen carrying multiple bags from his car. According to the investigative report, authorities have not been able to determine if Paddock had been planning to carry out a shooting at the Life is Beautiful festival.

As Lombardo said during Friday’s press conference, Paddock’s online activity prior to the Las Vegas shooting indicate a clear intent to perform an act of mass violence. In addition to searching for information on highly populated outdoor venues, Paddock performed Google searches for “swat weapons,” “ballistics chart 308,” “SWAT Las Vegas,” “ballistic,” and “do police use explosives” — all on September 15, just two weeks before the mass shooting authorities have described as meticulously planned.

Indeed, police and SWAT officers did in fact use explosives to enter Paddock’s hotel suites on the night of the shooting, finding the gunman dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside.

CrimeOnline will continue to provide updates as more information develops.


[Feature image: U.S. Government/Stephen Paddock]