The shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on October 1 left 58 people dead. Until Tuesday, it was believed that the shooter firing from the windows of the casino hotel had acted alone. Now, court hearings are suggesting that there are other suspects being actively investigated in connection with the crime.
This news came as a shock. Sheriff Joe Lombardo and the FBI have both claimed that evidence indicates Stephen Paddock acted alone. Yet we now know there are other suspects.
“Inside a district courtroom on Jan. 16,” Fox writes, “a lawyer for multiple media outlets argued why information pertaining to 1 October is crucial to helping Las Vegas heal, but the lawyer for Metro Police said they can’t release any information because there are still suspects being investigated.”
District Court Judge Elissa Cadish seemed curios, too. “Without naming names, there are potential charges against other people, because of the ongoing investigation?” She asked Metro’s Lawyer Nick Crosby.
“Yes there are charges being investigated,” Crosby answered.
With that assertion, the state now has reason to keep the records sealed.
Just who they are investigating, though, remains a mystery. Many who read the headline assumed this means there could have been another shooter. To date, there is no indication of that. The real possibilities may be much more mundane.
“Are they investigating obstruction of justice? Lies to Metro under oath from Mandalay Bay employees? Is it people who sold [Paddock] the guns or ammunition? Or did someone have knowledge of what he was going to do? Now [Metro Police] are just having us speculate more and more and more,” Craig Island, an attorney acting on behalf of the victims said.
The judge, though, wanted more of a timeline. How long would this take, she asked. Metro’s lawyer, Nick Crosby, estimated 60 days.
“Today is the first time we’ve heard there are additional suspects out there, this contradicts what they have been saying, [Sheriff] Lombardo has said there are no other suspects,” Maggie McCletchie, a lawyer for the media outlets noted.
McCletchie says the state has already had enough time to bring other charges. “There are important therapeutic effects of getting information out there after a tragedy,” she said. “The public has a right to know and shouldn’t just have to rely on what the sheriff and other law enforcement is saying.”
“The public has a dire need to know what happened on 1 October,” McCletchie added.
Just who will be charged? For what? The Las Vegas Review-Journal compiled a list of the work the FBI has done to date. The case has required the cooperation of 400 specialists. They’ve investigated 1500 leads locally, 500 more worldwide.
The investigation has collected 40 terabytes of data: 22,000 hours of video and more than 250,000 images.
Evidence collection at the festival took 14 days. The work inside the hotel required 13 days to complete. 12 federal search warrants were executed. To date, more than 500 grand jury subpoenas have been issued issued.
The FBI still maintains that all of this was to discover the shooter’s motive.