Rather than providing answers to what actually happened in Las Vegas when “lone wolf” Stephen Paddock allegedly fired hundreds of shots into a festival crowd from a hotel room window above the Las Vegas Strip, officials have been evasive, fueling citizen journalists’ investigations of the events. Why are officials apparently so uneasy with details surrounding this event, and why has mainstream media stopped covering what is allegedly the largest massacre by an individual in U.S. history?
By S.T. Patrick
Nearly two months after the Oct. 1 mass shooting outside of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the official explanation of what happened that evening has elicited more questions than it has provided answers. By mid-November, the increasingly rare release of news and information from Clark County and federal officials had critical alternative news outlets wondering how the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in U.S. history had disappeared from a 24/7 news cycle.
When questions go unanswered, it often signals an uneasiness officials have with the questions themselves. Motivations can range from embarrassment caused by dereliction of duty on the part of employees and authorities to a fear that a true revelation of answers will cause an official narrative to crumble.
In the aftermath of the shooting that killed at least 57 attendees of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, myriad questions remain unanswered.
Click here for S.T. Patrick’s “Midnight Writer News” podcast discussing alternative theories about what happened at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas:
Within two hours of the attacks, Las Vegas authorities announced that Stephen Paddock had acted alone. Fitting the archetype of a lone gunman, Paddock, 64, a native of nearby Mesquite, Nev., was portrayed as a loner, an alcoholic, and the son of a father who was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for a decade. Sheriff Joe Lombardo avoided defining a specific motive but did allude to Paddock’s recent loss of significant wealth.
Paddock’s past remains murky in a way that has gone unexplained. He had taken several cruises that made port stops in the Middle East, yet despite ISIS claiming Paddock as their “soldier,” the FBI insisted there was “no connection with an international terrorist group.” He wired $100,000 to an account in the Philippines a week before the shootings; officials still have not disclosed the details of the transfer.
According to investigators who searched his Mandalay Bay suite after the shootings, Paddock’s hard drive was suspiciously missing from his laptop.
The strange tale of security guard Jesus Campos has been an enigma from the beginning. Campos was supposedly shot in the leg at 9:59 p.m., about six minutes before Paddock reportedly first began his attack. Campos then reportedly went to UMC Quick Care for treatment, but the facility administrators stated they have “heard nothing” of Campos receiving treatment from them.
Campos then left the country, thus no-showing several scheduled television interviews. When he returned he did not sit down for an interview with a hard-hitting news organization. Instead, he appeared on the entertainment talk show “Ellen DeGeneres Show,” where he would not be expected to answer any probing questions.
Craig Eiland, an attorney for the victims, questioned why Paddock hadn’t been stopped before he began shooting out of the hotel room window. Eiland told Fox News two police officers were attending to Campos outside of Paddock’s door before the shooting of concert attendees began. Officials later claimed that it took them until 10:17 p.m.—18 minutes after Paddock shot Campos—to pinpoint the location of the shooter.
Security experts have estimated that Mandalay Bay has over 3,000 security cameras. The Los Angeles Times referred to Las Vegas casinos as “miniature surveillance states.” Yet no footage of Paddock has been released to the public. Officials have stated that no footage of Paddock exists, as the hotel’s hallways are without cameras for logistical reasons.
On Sept. 11, an anonymous poster going by the moniker “John” posted an ominous warning on the “4chan” imageboard website warning readers to stay away from large gatherings in Las Vegas. After his initial predicted date passed without incident, many labeled it a hoax. Three weeks later, many wondered who “John” was and what he really knew. He had predicted a false-flag incident that would result in a major overhaul of Las Vegas security. He also claimed that several individuals would profit from the mass killing. AFP is not naming the individuals cited by John for legal reasons, but they include a prominent former U.S. official and a billionaire.
One of the most widely discussed pieces of footage from the Las Vegas shooting was the video of a young woman who described how a short, Hispanic woman and her boyfriend pushed their way to the front of the crowd. They began loudly harassing a woman until security began escorting them out of the venue. As the woman was being led out, she began shouting, “You’re all going to die!”
Kymberley Suchomel, 28, was uninjured in the attack. Her Facebook post detailing the belief that there were multiple shooters on the ground soon went viral. “There was more than one gun firing. 100% more than one,” she wrote. She wanted to organize a group of witnesses who would help tell the truth and correct the official narrative. A week later, Suchomel died, reportedly of an epileptic seizure.
One theory surrounding the shootings is that the chaos at Mandalay Bay was part of a larger project that would end in an assassination at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino and a coup in Saudi Arabia. The theory is that Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, co-owner of floors 35-39 of Mandalay Bay, had planned an assassination of his cousin Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is next in line to be king of Saudi Arabia.
Angry that the moderate Sunni Crown Prince Salman was named next in line for the throne by his father, King Salman, Talal, an extreme Wahhabist, allegedly ordered an attempt on the life of Salman to take place on Nov. 1 in Las Vegas. Paddock, the theory states, was a pilot who ran guns between the U.S. and the Philippines for Talal. Paddock’s wealth came from the gun running and not gambling. It was Talal who also gave Paddock access to the service elevators. The attempt on Salman’s life failed, and Paddock became Talal’s sacrificial lamb rather than his getaway pilot. Rumors of shots fired at the Tropicana persist.
On Nov. 4, Salman had Talal arrested on corruption and money laundering charges.
There were additional witnesses who reported shooters on the ground, shots fired in other hotels along the Las Vegas strip, anomalies in the police radio dispatches, reports of fireworks before the shots, and amateur photographic analysts who question the contents of the official and unofficial photos that have been released.
As the corps of citizen researchers continues to do the journalistic work that the mainstream media seems unwilling to execute, those following the story will continue to wonder—to paraphrase the ad campaign—what happened in Vegas.
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News” show. His email is [email protected].