Up until recently, the public has been told that Las Vegas mass shooting gunman Stephen Paddock acted alone the night of October 1 when he fired on a huge crowd below from his 32nd story Mandalay Bay suite. But in court this week, lawyers for the city’s Metro Police Department revealed criminal charges could be brought against other individuals allegedly implicated in the crime.
Appearing in Clark County District Court where attorneys for media outlets, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal and CNN, are seeking the disclosure of sealed court records relating to the investigation, Metro lawyer Nick Crosby said charges could be brought within 60 days. Crosby didn’t say if multiple individuals might be charged, nor did he provide any clues as to who might be implicated.
The court records in question are different from the federal affidavits that were released last week. Crosby said releasing the sealed information could hamper the ongoing probe.
Lawyers for the media reasoned that since Paddock is deceased, the documents pertaining to the investigation must be released, with every delay being “a First Amendment violation.”
“The press has an important role in being able to get access to this warrant information and help the public understand what occurred … and what the actual facts are,” attorney Maggie McLetchie noted in court. “The horrific incidents were over three months ago. The public still has many, many questions.”
Overseeing the court proceeding, Judge Elissa Cadish said she would review the documents being sought for public release, and issue a ruling next week.
The most plausible individual being looked at is Paddock’s former girlfriend Marilou Danley. The unsealed federal documents revealed that the 63-year-old admitted to authorities in the days following the attack that her fingerprints would likely be found on Paddock’s ammunition because she “occasionally participated in loading magazines.”
Danley maintains that she had no knowledge of what Paddock was planning. But her activity in the hours after the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history might suggest that she hoped investigators wouldn’t find her.
Before Stephen Paddock was even identified as the gunman inside Mandalay Bay, Danley had deleted her Facebook account, according to a court affidavit.
Few details are known about Paddock and Danley’s relationship. The two are thought to have briefly lived together at his Mesquite home, but neighbors say they rarely saw her. In September, he reportedly wired her $100,000 once she returned home to visit family in the Philippines.
An October 7 affidavit written by an FBI agent concluded that the investigation “to date has not produced any conclusive evidence that Danley aided Paddock, had foreknowledge of his plans, or has been deceptive with law enforcement.”
No News Isn’t Good News
The Las Vegas shooting investigation has been active for 108 days. And more than 15 weeks later, the general public doesn’t know much more than it did on the morning of October 2.
Paddock’s motive remains a mystery. Danley’s actions in the weeks before the shooting do, too. Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos hasn’t been heard from since appearing on Ellen in mid-October.
And then there’s the fact that three shooting survivors have since died. A California couple died in a car crash, and in Pahrump, another survivor was killed in a hit-and-run.
Paddock methodically covered his tracks to impede the investigation. But the public, the media, and the shooting survivors are all waiting for answers.