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Police to release witness accounts of Vegas Strip shooting

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Police in Las Vegas planned Wednesday to release witness statements and officer reports in the investigation of last year’s mass shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds in the deadliest event of its kind in modern U.S. history.

The scheduled release of documents comes more than seven months after a gunman opened fire Oct. 1 from a casino high-rise into a concert crowd of 22,000 people at an open-air venue on the Las Vegas Strip. Courts ordered the release in a public records lawsuit by The Associated Press and several other media organizations.

The department two weeks ago released video from two officers’ body cameras showing police blasting through the door of the 32nd-floor hotel suite where authorities say gunman Stephen Paddock killed himself before officers arrived.

Paddock is seen motionless on his back with a pool of blood staining the carpet near his head and a cache of assault-style weapons strewn about.

Police and the FBI have said they don’t know a motive for the attack, but that they believe Paddock acted alone and the attack had no link to international terrorism.

Media outlets sued to obtain videos, 911 recordings, evidence logs and interview reports to shed light on the response by public agencies, emergency workers and hotel officials during and after the shooting.

Department lawyers who opposed releasing the information called the public records request costly and time-consuming, and said it could disclose investigative techniques.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said early this month the police investigation was not finished, and pointedly apologized for the release of information that he said would “further traumatize a wounded community.”

Sgt. Jeff Clark, a department spokesman, said there would be no comment about the documents released Wednesday. FBI spokeswoman Sandra Breault in Las Vegas also declined to comment.

A preliminary report released by Lombardo in January said Paddock meticulously planned the attack and scouted potential targets in at least four cities where he rented rooms in buildings overlooking outdoor concerts.

Police reported finding thousands of rounds of ammunition and dozens of guns in Paddock’s hotel rooms and his homes in southern and northern Nevada. Documents say about 100 pounds (45.4 kilograms) of explosive material was found in his vehicle parked at the Mandalay Bay resort.

Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who was in the Philippines at the time of the shooting, described to investigators relationship difficulties with the 64-year-old retired accountant, millionaire real estate investor and high-stakes gambler.

Lombardo said it appeared Paddock was on a gambling losing streak, and police reported finding just $273 in cash in his hotel room.

Danley acknowledged to the FBI that she helped Paddock load high-volume ammunition magazines that police say he later used in the attack. She has not been charged with a crime.

An Arizona man faces a federal charge alleging that he provided illegal armor-piercing ammunition that authorities found in Paddock’s hotel suite. Douglas Haig has pleaded not guilty. He maintains he legally sold to Paddock tracer ammunition that illuminates the path of fired bullets.



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