The Las Vegas gunman who killed 58 civilians and injured hundreds more before killing himself on Sunday had originally hoped to survive his shooting and flee justice - and likely had an accomplice, it has emerged.
Stephen Paddock, 64, had planned to escape the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel after firing on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo revealed in a press conference Wednesday.
Lombardo declined to reveal why he believed that Paddock had an exit planned, but said he was confident in the claim - and said that his scheme was so elaborate that he would have to be a 'super hero' to pull it off alone.
He also announced that the count of people injured in the attack was lower than initially stated - 489, not 527 - due to confusion at hospitals.
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Sheriff Joseph Lombardo (left) said on Wednesday that 'You gotta make the assumption' that Stephen Paddock (right), 64, had help in his plot to kill and maim hundreds in Las Vegas on Sunday. He also said there was evidence Paddock planned to escape
Lombardo didn't reveal why he thought escape was planned, but as this photo of Paddock's dead body shows, he killed himself. The sheriff added that although there was a letter on the table (in red circle), no suicide note was found
An investigator is seen on Wednesday peering through one of the windows that Paddock smashed so he could open fire on the crowd. Lombardo also revised the number of injured down from 527 to 489, citing hospital confusion during the shooting
Horrifying video footage (pictured) that emerged Wednesday shows dozens of bodies lying in the field where the Route 91 Harvest country music festival was being held when Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel
Investigators are still processing the festival site-turned-crime scene. The FBI warned in the press conference on Wednesday that it would be some time before all of the evidence that was being collected was properly examined
It wasn't clear why Lombardo thought that Paddock had expected to survive his insane assault, which is the worst mass shooting in US history.
But he said that he believed the killer had ceased firing on the terrified civilians in order to figure out how he could escape, as SWAT teams closed in on his room.
He also noted that Paddock's car contained two 50lbs of the explosive Tannerite - in two 20lb tins and 10 1lb tins - as well as 1,600 rounds of ammunition.
A journalist in the press pool asked whether Paddock had planned to use the vehicle to escape, but Lombardo declined to answer.
Lombardo also said he thought it was likely that Paddock had an accomplice, given the 23 rifles and piles of magazines in the room, the additional firearms in Paddock's homes, and the electronic devices recovered from his Mesquite house.
Paddock would have had to have been a 'super hero' to pull it off, Lombardo said, before catching himself for using the word 'hero' to refer to a mass murderer.
'Look at the weapon obtaining, the amounts of Tannerite available - do you think this was accomplished all on his own, face value?' he said.
'You gotta make the assumption he had to have help at some point, and we want to ensure that's the answer.'
These photos from inside the room show several assault rifles; Lombardo said the number of guns here and in Paddock's homes, and explosives in his car suggest that he had help. Beside one pillar (right), a neat stack of magazines can be seen
'Look at the weapon obtaining, the amounts of [the explosive] Tannerite available - do you think this was accomplished all on his own, face value?' Lombardo asked, rhetorically. However, he said that there was still the possibility Paddock acted alone
He continued: 'Put two and two together: another residence in Reno with several firearms, okay, electronics, and everything else associated with it, large amounts of ammo, a place in Mesquite.
WHY DID THE INJURED COUNT DROP?
On Wednesday the number of people injured in Paddock's shooting dropped from 527 to 489.
In a press conference, Sheriff Lombardo said that the initial numbers were composed of figures given by local hospitals during the crisis.
They accidentally included some people who were counted twice and others who were treated for injuries not linked to the shooting, he said.
The new figure is the new official statistic, he said.
'We know that he had a girlfriend. Do you think this is all self-facing, individuals are just, without talking to somebody, sequestered amongst themselves? Come on, folks.'
Marilou Danley, Paddock's 62-year-old girlfriend, landed back in the US from the Philippines on Tuesday and has spoken to the FBI.
She said in a statement today through her lawyer that she had no idea of Paddock's deranged plans.
Aaron Rouse, FBI special agent in charge of the investigation, said that she was not in FBI custody and that she had been helping with their inquiries.
He also said there was no evidence 'to this point' that suggests terrorism, but that 'this is an ongoing investigation... we're not going to close down any doors.'
If Paddock did have an accomplice, then it might make sense of the claim made on Wednesday that Paddock had ordered room service for two guests days before the massacre - as shown by a receipt.
Lombardo also said that SWAT teams spotted two cameras on a room service cart outside Paddock's suite, and one in the peephole of a door.
There was also a baby monitor camera in the family area of the hotel room, he said. None of them were recording.
However, it's believed that they may have provided Paddock with a live view of the police as they advanced on his position.
He said that Paddock's attempts to flee had probably begun when he spotted a security guard - who had been investigating the gunfire separate from the police - approaching his room on one of the cameras.
Paddock then fired 'well over 200 rounds' through the door into the hallway - miraculously only injuring, not killing, the courageous guard, he said.
Near the doors to Paddock's room was a room service cart, with empty plates - and two cameras showing Paddock what was happening in the hall. A third camera was in the peephole of Paddock's door, but none of the footage was recorded
Lombardo said Paddock fired 'over 200' rounds through these doors when he spotted a security guard approaching the room. Miraculously, the guard was only injured, and was able to tell police exactly where Paddock was
The guard and police approached Paddock's room down the corridor; a separate team came up the stairs next to the room, but held off raiding when they spotted cameras on the cart near the door. Lombardo said Paddock had stopped firing by then
Even more incredibly, when police arrived 60 seconds later, Lombardo said, the guard not only gave them his master key and information, he also helped clear nearby rooms of bystanders.
He only sought medical attention when ordered to leave by the police, Lombardo claimed.
But the sheriff said that while the security guard did distract Paddock from his spree, police were just seconds behind him - and would have done the same if he weren't there.
Like Undersheriff Kevin McMahill on Tuesday night, Lombardo stressed that although it took more than 70 minutes between the first shot fired and SWAT breaching the room, police were not sitting on their hands.
Instead, he said, they were on Paddock's case from the very start, and once the killer stopped firing - after 10 minutes, according to bodycam footage - they focused on evacuating the floor, since he was barricaded in his room.
NEW TIMELINE OF TERROR IN VEGAS
On Wednesday, Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo revealed a new timeline for the Vegas killings, based on bodycam and CCTV footage.
The previous timeline had been based on the computer-aided dispatch report, which compiled figures based on individuals' timestamps, and so was not as accurate.
Below is the new timeline of Sunday's shooting, as relayed by Lombardo.
About 10pm: Paddock uses a hammer to smash two windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, giving him a view over the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, where 22,000 people were watching headline act Jason Aldean perform.
10.05pm: Paddock, who has an arsenal of 23 weapons - 12 of which are semi-automatic rifles equipped with bump-stocks that effectively give them fully automatic fire - fires his first, sustained shots. This is seen on CCTV from the concert venue.
10.12pm: The first two police officers - who were already in the area, and alerted by someone on the 31st floor, arrive at that person's room with a member of hotel security and announce that the gunfire is above them.
10.15pm: Another hotel security guard, responding to complaints from guests and separate from the police investigation, approaches Paddock's room on the 32nd floor.
At this time, Paddock - likely using the two cameras he placed on a room service cart in he hall, and a third he had installed in his door's peephole - is alerted to the guard's presence and fires more than 200 rounds through the door at him.
The last gunfire from Paddock is reported at this time, 10:15pm.
10:17pm: The police officers who were on the 31st floor arrive on the 32nd floor at the central elevator, at the opposite end of the corridor to Paddock's room.
10:18pm: The cops find the security guard - who is, miraculously, only wounded. He gives them the exact location of Paddock's room.
10:26: Eight additional cops arrive and join the 31st floor cops and the injured security guard. Because Paddock is no longer firing, and hasn't for more than 10 minutes, he is assumed to be in barricade mode. It is decided that the first focus should be evacuating the floor.
10:26-10:30pm: All of them - including the injured guard - then clear the rooms on the way to Paddock, looking for wounded or trapped people. The hurt guard is told to seek medical help during this process.
10:55pm: Eight more officers arrive at the other end of the corridor, in a stairwell around two-to-three feet from the door to Paddock's room. They have walked up the stairwell carrying guns and heavy bags of equipment. K-9 units are also there. The stairwell door is secured, but they open it; when they see the cameras on the room service cart they decide to hold back.
11:20pm: Having formulated a plan, the cops use explosives to breach Paddock's door. At this point, he has not fired for more than an hour. They find him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They note that there is a second door in the suite that is locked.
11.27pm: The second door is breached; police see that no-one else is in this room and radio in to say that the suspect is down.
The following details ddo not come from Lombardo's account of the events.
1.06am: The Southern California police department say that one of their officers is among the injured.
1.34am: At this point the death toll dramatic rises to 20 people injured and 100 injured.
1.54am: Police in Las Vegas says that two of their officers who were off-duty were among the dead.
2.13am: Investigators say that they are looking for the 'roommate' of the shooter - Marilou Danley and describe her as a person of interest.
3.30am: Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo announces that the death toll is now at least 50 dead and 200 injured - making this the deadliest shooting in US history.
6.30am: Investigators say they have located Marilou Danley and say that she is overseas and is not longer a person of interest.
9.30am: Sheriff provides another update and says that the death toll is now in excess of 59 and that 527 people are injured.
Tuesday 2pm: Sheriff says all but three victims have been identified and that Marilou Danley is a person of interest again.
Tuesday night: Danley arrives in LAX and is escorted away by FBI for questioning.
Wednesday 8pm: Lombardo announces that the injured count has been lowered to 489 as confusion on the night of the shooting led to elevated figures; FBI confirm Danley is not in their custody and is helping with their inquiries.
Unfortunately, Lombardo said, they are no closer to knowing what Paddock's motives might be for his killing spree - but he said that police were looking into why Paddock bought 33 rifles in October 2016.
He confirmed that they were looking into the possibility that something may have triggered a mental issue around that time that caused him to buy the guns.
Lombardo also confirmed that Paddock had rented a room in Downtown Las Vegas during the Life is Beautiful Festival, which was held on September 22-24.
He had booked out a suite at the Ogden, a condo building that was advertised for its views over the festival, including the main stage, where Gorillaz, Chance the Rapper, Muse and Lorde all played this year.
It's not known why Paddock hired the room - if he intended to attack that festival, or to give himself a better idea of what to expect on Sunday are two possibilities.
But if he'd opened fire during the event, and been able to fire the same distances that he did on Sunday, he could have hit 11 of the 15 blocks that the festival covered. It had 45,000 visitors per day this year.
Lombardo said that the rooms were not rented directly from the Ogden, but through an Airbnb account run by someone living there. He said that the Ogden and the festival's organizers had both helped with the investigation.
He said that some 'items' had been taken from the property, along with video footage - but said he didn't know if they counted as 'evidence' yet.
Lombardo said that Paddock had hired a room overlooking the Life is Beautiful Festival (pictured), which was held across 15 blocks of Downtown Vegas from 22-24 September. It's not known if he intended to attack that festival or was doing research
He used Airbnb to book a condo at the Ogden (left), which overlooks the festival; seen right is a view of Life is Beautiful taken from the Ogden in 2016. If he had fired from the building he could have hit the crowd at the main stage
The festival occupied the 15 blocks within the blue lines above. The shaded areas show the distance Paddock fired on Sunday; he could have hit 11 blocks at the festival, including the main stage where Lorde, Muse, Chance the Rapper and Gorillaz played
Also on Thursday, it emerged that the crowds at the Route 91 festival were not Paddock's only targets on Sunday: He'd also attempted to detonate tanks of jet fuel close to the event.
The tanks are roughly two blocks away from the Mandalay Bay Resort and 1,100 feet from the concert site, and contain jet fuel for the nearby Los Angeles International Airport, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
They are perfectly in line with the second window that Paddock broke in a suite adjoining his main sniper's nest, around 2,000 feet away.
Paddock had successfully managed to hit the tanks, but had failed to penetrate them, a source with knowledge of the investigation said.
The FBI had inspected the tanks and made measurements, and they have since been repaired.