A deadly shooting that took place at an outdoor concert venue on the Las Vegas strip last night has left at least 58 people dead and over 500 injured. The shooter, identified as Stephen Paddock had a variety of firearms in his Mandalay Bay hotel room that he used to fire into a crowd of tens of thousands below him.
Paddock is believed to have committed suicide as law enforcement officers closed in on his position.
Several sources in the firearms industry, law enforcement and prior military members that spoke to us indicated that the sustained rate of fire was faster and more consistent than a standard semi-automatic rifle would be able to produce under most circumstances.
Now, according to a Fox News report citing a law enforcement source it does seem that the weapons used by Paddock were modified to fire faster than designed. According to Fox News:
Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock bought more than 30 weapons and had more than a dozen stashed in his hotel room as he carried out the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, Fox News learned Monday.
The deadly cache included converted, fully automatic AR-15 style assault rifles with high capacity magazines, according to a law enforcement source. The weaponry suggests Paddock passed numerous FBI background checks.
A senior law enforcement source tells Fox News that Paddock had “about” 19 guns in his hotel room.
The source also indicated that the rifles were chambered in both the popular 5.56mm and .308 calibers. The 5.56 is considered an intermediate round. It is used by the US military in the M-4/M-16 line of rifles as well as other weapon systems. The .308 is a larger caliber and is very similar to the 7.62×51mm NATO round which is used by the US military and its NATO allies for longer range applications. The .308 caliber itself is popular among hunters and long range shooters.
It is unclear how exactly the rifles were converted to fully automatic. It is also unclear if they were actually converted or if they used one of the popular add-on devices for AR style rifles that can increase the rate of fire, but usually not into the same speed as true select fire weapons.
A separate New York Times report indicates that two weapons were found mounted on tripods near two broken windows facing the scene of the shooting. A tripod would certainly help to increase the accuracy of fully automatic fire at the ranges Paddock was shooting from.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 2, 2017