Laptop in Las Vegas shooter's suite was missing hard drive

2017-10-26 12:49
Stephen Paddock, the gunman who killed 58 people and injured over 500 during an open air concert in Las Vegas. (OFF/AFP)

Stephen Paddock, the gunman who killed 58 people and injured over 500 during an open air concert in Las Vegas. (OFF/AFP)

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WATCH: 5 facts about Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock

2017-10-09 12:06

Investigators are looking into whether gunman Stephen Paddock scoped out bigger music festivals in Las Vegas and Chicago – and perhaps Boston's Fenway Park – before setting up his perch in a casino hotel and raining deadly fire on country music fans.WATCH

Las Vegas - A laptop found inside the Las Vegas gunman's hotel suite after he carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history was missing a hard drive, a federal official told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Investigators suspect gunman Stephen Paddock removed the hard drive from the laptop after he opened fire from his high-rise suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino into a crowd at a country music concert, killing 58 people and wounded hundreds of others, the official said.

The official wasn't authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The hard drive hasn't been found, according to the official, and the absence of digital clues adds yet another puzzling aspect to the investigation as authorities try to figure out what might've led the 64-year-old high-stakes gambler to commit the mass killing.

Investigators have examined his politics, finances, any possible radicalisation and his social behaviour — typical investigative avenues that have helped uncover the motive in past shootings — and there's still no clear motive.

On Wednesday, authorities also estimated that the costs of police, fire and other emergency services related to the massacre were projected at about $4m and climbing.

The disclosure came amid pledges by the federal government to provide $1m, and from the state of Nevada to pay $600 000 to defray costs stemming from the October 1 shooting.

Las Vegas police Officer Laura Meltzer provided what she called a preliminary figure of $3.5m for department costs associated with the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

"We still have a lot of resources devoted to the investigation," Meltzer said. "We still have people working overtime and around the clock on it."

The amount spent on overtime to date amounts to more than half a percent of the annual Las Vegas police budget.

'We expect it will be in the millions'

Clark County administrators on Tuesday estimated fire department, coroner and social services costs at between $300 000 and $500 000, county spokesperson Erik Pappa said.

"Over the long term, we expect it will be in the millions," he said.

Pappa noted that a facility dubbed "The Vegas Strong Resiliency Centre" opened on Monday to serve as a one-stop resource for references and referrals for residents, visitors and responders affected by the shooting. He said it is expected to remain open for several years.

Paddock, a former real estate investor with homes in Reno and Mesquite, Nevada, fired assault-style weapons out two 32nd-floor windows at the Mandalay Bay resort into a crowd of 22 000 people at an open-air country music concert across the street. Police and the FBI have said they believe he acted alone.

The US Justice Department last week announced a $1m award from "justice assistance" funds to Nevada to help defray immediate costs of responding to the shooting.

On Tuesday, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and state Attorney General Adam Laxalt allocated $600 000 from funds that Laxalt said were reaped from a deceptive trade practices lawsuit settlement in July.

Laxalt called the money non-taxpayer funds.

Sandoval called the money a first step in providing "any additional resources necessary" to help the investigation, and said the police department should receive the state money within 15 days.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, with almost 2 700 sworn officers, has an annual budget of $552m. It covers most of Clark County, with a population of about 2 million people and more than 40 million visitors a year.

The annual county budget is about $6.6bn.

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