Police said Thursday they are examining reports that the gunman who fired on a country music festival in Las Vegas also booked rooms in a Chicago hotel overlooking the massive Lollapalooza music festival, the latest new line of inquiry as investigators try to retrace the killer’s steps in the days and weeks before the deadly attack.
TMZ reported that Stephen Paddock, 64, booked two rooms facing Grant Park, where the festival was held from Aug. 3 to Aug. 6, at the Blackstone Hotel, an upscale downtown hotel across the street, but he never showed.
“We can confirm that a reservation was made under the name Stephen Paddock; however, authorities have not confirmed that this is the same person as the Las Vegas shooter,” said hotel spokeswoman Emmy Carragher, adding that the guest never arrived. “We are cooperating with the authorities on this matter.”
Lollapalooza draws hundreds of thousands of music fans every year, and this summer, the show’s attendees included Malia Obama, the daughter of former President Obama.
The news comes after officials revealed Wednesday that Paddock also had booked an Airbnb in a condo building overlooking the Life Is Beautiful music festival in Las Vegas in late September, leading investigators to gather video footage from the building to learn more.
“Was he doing pre-surveillance? We don’t know yet,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Wednesday.
Paddock ultimately shot into a crowd of more than 21,000 country music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday night from a suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino hotel, where he gambled before the attack. The attack left 58 dead and nearly 500 people wounded. Paddock killed himself.
Paddock also opened fire at two large jet fuel storage tanks a block away from the festival grounds, which are near McCarran International Airport, but the tanks did not ignite, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Officials are still trying to understand what happened during the shooting. Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell said Thursday that the fire alarms in Mandalay Bay were triggered during the shooting, but he did not know whether this was caused by gun smoke, a person pulling the alarm or some other aspect of the police response.
Firefighters on the ground saw flashing lights above and only later determined that the alarm had not been set off by flames. >
Cassell said more than 32 other calls of gunshot victims at locations around the Strip, including Caesars Palace or South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa, came in after Sunday night’s shootings. The scattered locations of the calls contributed to the sense that other shooters may have been active and complicated the response.
“What is going on in our town? Is this a single event, or are we now under a Mumbai-style attack where we’ve got multiple things going on at multiple properties?” Cassell said he wondered.
The chief said 108 Clark County firefighters and 14 chief officers responded. More than 50 firefighters from neighboring departments also assisted.
Paramedic crews took more than 200 patients to the hospital, the chief said.