The mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas that left at least 59 dead and more than 500 wounded could happen anywhere, but local law enforcement officials work diligently to ensure the safety of District residents and the millions who visit daily.
Records have revealed that the shooter, Stephen Paddock, had previously rented a hotel room in Chicago with a clear view of the Lollapalooza festival where performers included the British band Muse and Liam Gallagher and those in attendance included Malia Obama, the 19-year-old daughter of former President Barack Obama.
Metropolitan Police Department officials said they, like agencies around the nation, do have a plan in place for such terror attacks, even given that the District contains numerous federal buildings and property and is flooded with Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies.
“If a mass shooting happened on D.C. property and not federal land such as U.S. Park Service, MPD would be the lead agency,” said Rachel Schaerr Reid, an MPD spokeswoman. “However, we stand ready to assist our law enforcement partners should they need help.”
Schaerr Reid said MPD has a longstanding policy of not commenting on operational strategies and tactics.
“We are monitoring the horrific mass shooting incident in Las Vegas. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and Vegas community,” she said.
Meanwhile, investigators are trying to determine whether someone else was in the Las Vegas gunman’s hotel room when he was registered there, senior law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation told NBC News.
The investigators said they’re puzzled by two discoveries: First, a charger was found that does not match any of the cellphones that belonged to Paddock. And second, garage records show that during a period when Paddock’s car left the hotel garage, one of his key cards was used to get into his room.
There are several possible explanations for these anomalies, the investigators say, but they want to get to the bottom of it, NBC News reported.
They are also examining his finances.
Paddock’s most recent IRS records show him as a successful gambler, earning at least $5 million in 2015. Some of that could be from other investments, but most of it was from gambling, officials told NBC News.
Paddock unleashed a barrage of bullets from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on Sunday, Oct. 1, killing at least 58 people and injuring about 500 others who were attending a country music festival below.
His motive remains unclear.
Senior law enforcement officials said Paddock, 64, had researched possible attack locations in Boston and Chicago, including the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago in August.