Leaked photos show deadly rifles, ammo, cameras in Vegas shooter’s room | World

Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock. Photo: Eric Paddock/WOFL

LAS VEGAS: Photographs leaked Tuesday from the hotel room of the Las Vegas shooter showed scope-mounted assault rifles, a floor covered with expended shells and what appears to be a note left on a table.

Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said that Stephen Paddock, the man who murdered 59 people from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, also had cameras in his room, including one apparently monitoring the corridor approach.

Lombardo said his department was investigating the photographs from inside and outside the room published by Boston 25 TV station and Germany´s Bild magazine.

One showed the apparent body of the shooter next to two assault rifles mounted on bipods, his feet next to a table with an apparent hand-written note on it.

A leaked photo shows the Vegas shooter’s body after he committed suicide in his hotel room Sunday night. There also appears to be a note on the table (in red circle). Police are investigating who leaked the photo

Other pictures from the scene show a neatly stacked pile of ammunition clips, and other rifles piled up on lounge chairs.

Weapons and ammo in Stephen Paddock’s hotel room 

A picture outside the room shows bullet holes through the door, possibly those made when Paddock fired at hotel security guards outside the door, hitting one in the leg.

Pictured above is the first glimpse inside Paddock’s hotel room, showing the debris left when SWAT teams blew open the door. The peephole in the door hid a camera he used to spy on the hallway. Photo: Bild/Polaris

Lombardo said Paddock shot from the hotel window down at the crowd of about 22,000 at a country music concert late Sunday for about nine minutes in total.

59 people have been confirmed dead in the massacre and about 500 were treated in hospitals for a range of wounds and injuries.

Lombardo said there was still nothing clear about the motivation of the shooter, a 64-year-old regular gambler who owned numerous properties and had no known associations with political, radical or hate groups.

He did not comment on the content of the pictures, but confirmed Paddock had used a “bump stock” on at least one of the weapons, which in effect turned it into an automatic rifle that can shoot hundreds of rounds a minute.

Outside the room investigators found one of the cameras mounted on a room service cart in the hallway, possibly giving Paddock a view of anyone approaching the room.

“I´m not aware of any transmission. But there were cameras,” Lombardo said.

How did Las Vegas shooter get his arsenal?

47 firearms from three locations. Piles of ammunition, and devices that converted assault rifles to automatic weapons that fired like machine guns. How did Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock amass an arsenal of firearms?

In the United States, and particularly in states like Nevada, it´s easy. And totally legal.

Although the country is notorious for its lax gun laws, there are some restrictions on multiple sales of handguns. But if someone wants to build up a cache of rifles the way Paddock did, they could do so without anyone noticing.

To the right of the doors was a room service cart, covered with empty plates. Paddock set up another camera on the cart to watch the hall. A third camera in the room filmed the shooter. All footage is being examined by the FBI. Photo: Bild/Polaris

Most gun sales are by federally licensed vendors who must put buyers through background checks. The FBI will run their name through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which refers to three databases of offenders.

Those databases are not always perfect, relying on often spotty reporting from the states. Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine people in an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015, cleared a handgun purchase background check just weeks before, despite having a drug conviction on his record.

No apparent red flags

But if a person´s record is clean — and Paddock evidently did not raise any red flags — he can buy as many guns as he wants.

There are some controls, points out Laura Cutilletta, the legal director at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Licensed gun dealers, who handle perhaps 60 percent of all firearm sales, have to report multiple handgun sales to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. “Multiple” means two or more guns to the same purchaser within five business days.

Even then, Cutilletta says, “There is no requirement that law enforcement investigate.”

Three states — California, New York and New Jersey — prohibit sales of more than one handgun in 30 to 90 days, with slight variations between them.

Another leaked photo shows several assault rifles strewn across the room, which is littered with spent bullet casings. Behind the pillar above, neat piles of stacked magazines are seen

Beyond that, the country is an open market, with private sellers of used guns in most states not having to run background checks, and few restrictions on long gun purchases.

In Nevada, where gun laws are particularly lax and enforcement more so, it would have been easy for Paddock to accumulate all the guns he had unnoticed.

“There is no way that ATF or the FBI would know,” said Cutilletta.

Easy to convert to automatic

But what stood out in Sunday´s massacre, when Paddock unloaded his guns on a crowd of 22,000 at a country music concert, was the rapid pace of fire.

According to reports, he had modified some of his guns to work like automatic weapons, like machine guns, able to shoot many hundreds of rounds a minute with one trigger pull.

Automatic weapons have been banned in the United States for three decades.

But converting a semi-automatic weapon, including the AR-15 and AK-47-type assault rifles widely available in US gun shops, into an automatic weapon is easy.

On the ground behind the double doors, one of Paddock’s 23 firearms is seen set up on the ground with a bipod. Photo: Bild/Polaris

For $40 you can buy a trigger crank, a small device that can be attached to the trigger. It can make the gun fire three or four times with each turn of the crank, significantly faster than using a finger to pull the trigger.

For as little as $99, you can get a bump stock, a spring-loaded stock that, with one pull of the trigger, keeps the weapon firing using its own recoil. It can enable the weapon to fire at a rate of 600 rounds a minute or more.

Trigger cranks and bump stocks are completely legal, they even come with ATF certifications that they do not constitute an illegal conversion of the guns. Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo confirmed Tuesday that Paddock had at least one of the devices.

The leaked photographs from the hotel room showed that Paddock also had a large stock of ammunition. That side of the guns industry is also little-regulated, with only restrictions on sales of certain types of ammunition like armor-piercing bullets.

Otherwise, anyone can buy bullets in volume — with no questions asked.

News Reporter

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