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Police, FBI seek public’s help in finding motive behind Las Vegas massacre

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Police and FBI agents, chasing down more than 1,000 dead-end leads since a gunman killed 58 people in Las Vegas, are seeking more help from the public in solving the central mystery of their investigation – the shooter’s motive.

Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said investigators remain largely in the dark about what drove retired real estate investor and high-stakes gambler Stephen Paddock to carry out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

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“We have looked at everything, literally, to include the suspect’s personal life, any political affiliation, his social behaviors, economic situation, any potential radicalization,” McMahill told reporters late on Friday.

“We have been down each and every single one of these paths, trying to determine why, to determine who else may have known of these plans.”

McMahill acknowledged that Islamic State had repeatedly claimed responsibility for the attack, but said investigators had uncovered “no nexus” between the Mideast-based militant group and Paddock.

In an unusual bid to cast a wider net for tips, the FBI and police have arranged with communications company Clear Channel to post billboards around Las Vegas urging citizens to come forward with any information they believe might help investigators.

The billboards will bear the slogan, “If you know something, say something,” and carry a toll-free number to an FBI hotline, said Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Las Vegas FBI office.

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The public appeal came a day before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was slated to join Mayor Carolyn Goodman and other local leaders at a City Hall commemoration for victims of the shooting, following a prayer walk through the city. President Donald Trump paid a visit to Las Vegas earlier in the week.

Paddock, 64, unleashed a torrent of gunfire onto an outdoor music festival from the windows of his 32nd-floor hotel suite overlooking the concert on Sunday night, then shot himself to death before police stormed his room.

In addition to the 58 people who died, nearly 500 were injured, some by gunfire, some trampled or otherwise hurt while running for cover.

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Unlike so many other perpetrators of deadly mass shootings before him, Paddock left behind no suicide note, no manifesto, no recordings and no messages on social media pointing to his intent, according to police.

McMahill said investigators remained certain Paddock acted alone in the shooting. But police have said they suspect he had help before the killings, based on the large number of guns, ammunition and explosives found in the hotel suite, his home, his car and a second home searched in Reno.

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Authorities have said that 12 of the weapons recovered from Paddock’s hotel suite were equipped with so-called bump-stock devices that enable semi-automatic rifles to be operated as if they were fully automatic machine-guns.

Paddock’s ability to fire hundreds of rounds per minute over the course of his 10-minute shooting spree was a major factor in the high casualty count, police said.

The bloodshed might have lasted longer, with greater loss of life, but for a hotel security officer who was sent to check an open-door alarm on the 32nd floor, and discovered the gunman’s whereabouts after the shooting started, McMahill said.

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The security officer, Jesus Campos, was struck in the leg as the gunman strafed the hallway with gunfire from behind his door, apparently having detected Campos via surveillance cameras Paddock set up outside his hotel suite.

Campos, though wounded, alerted the hotel’s dispatch, “which was absolutely critical to us knowing the location as well as advising the responding officers as they arrived on that 32nd floor,” McMahill said. “He’s an absolute hero.”

In a new disclosure, authorities said two bullets Paddock fired struck a large jet fuel storage tank at the edge of the city’s main airport, about a block from the concert grounds, indicating an apparent attempt by the gunman to create even greater havoc.

There was no explosion or fire from the two rounds, one of which penetrated the tank, as jet fuel in storage is almost impossible to ignite with gunshots, airport officials said on Friday.

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Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62, was questioned by the FBI on Wednesday and said in a statement she never had any inkling of Paddock’s plans.

Danley, who returned late on Tuesday from a family visit to the Philippines, is regarded by investigators as a “person of interest.” The Australian citizen of Filipino heritage is cooperating fully with authorities, her lawyer said.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage and Sharon Bernstein in Las Vegas; additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Richard Cowan, Doina Chiacu, Amanda Becker and Jeff Mason in Washington, Chris Kenning in Chicago, Karen Freifeld and Jonathan Allen in New York, Keith Coffman in Denver and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Scott Malone and Steve Gorman; Editing by Andrew Hay/Jeremy Gaunt)


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Florida Republican complains impeachment hurts troops’ feelings

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A Republican lawmaker suggested that some impeachment evidence offered by Democrats had insulted military service members.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) -- an Iraq War veteran whose combat record has fallen under question -- claimed that Democrats had disrespected the troops by showing a link between President Donald Trump's alleged extortion scheme and Ukrainian military deaths.

"The fact that members of this committee would insinuate the Ukrainians died because they didn't get aid is ridiculous," Steube said. "Having served in the combat theater and knowing what that is like, to blame that aid was delayed a few weeks would have saved lives is frankly insulting to me and all who have served."

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Meghan McCain leads The View hosts in brutal attack on Nikki Haley: ‘Disqualified for national office’

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Addressing former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's attempt to walk back her comments defending the flying of the Confederate flag, conservative co-host Meghan McCain took the lead on "The View" and hammered the former South Carolina governor -- agreeing with co-host Sunny Hostin that Haley disqualified herself from ever being president.

With host Whoopi Goldberg off for the day, McCain asked to speak first, and jumped all over Haley who recently wrote an op-ed attempting to explain away her comments made during an interview with right-wing host Glenn Beck.

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Dem lawmaker drops the mic on GOP for claiming Trump was really worried about Ukraine ‘corruption’

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One of the Republican Party's defenses of President Donald Trump has been that he only withheld military aid to Ukraine because he sincerely wanted to see whether the country was doing enough to fight internal corruption.

But Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) on Thursday tore this claim to pieces by showing how Trump himself is constantly mired in corruption in both his own businesses and even his personal charity.

While debating articles of impeachment against Trump before the House Judiciary Committee, Raskin mocked the idea that the man who has paid out tens of millions of dollars to settle fraud claims has a sincere commitment to fight corruption.

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