I’ve been following the Mandalay Bay mass shooting for a couple of reasons.
1. Curiosity: even as mass shootings go, this one is strange.
2. The incident is being used as the irrational rationale for a grab bag of gun people control proposals: universal preemptively-prove-your-innocence “background checks, “assault weapons” bans, bump-fire stock bans, registration, licensing, purchasing limits… you name, someone proposed it.
The second is why I’ve been writing about the case at The Zelman Partisans. Please refer to those columns for background material.
What I tried — with only partial success — to avoid at TZP is speculation. I’m a guest there, and didn’t want to involve them in potential conspiracy theories. I’ve saved that for here.
I’ll summarize here. If you need links for details, refer to the TZP columns.
According to sources, law enforcement found at least one fully automatic rifle in addition to the rifles equipped with bump-fire stocks.
Further LE statements, sources, and warrant data say:
- Hotel receipts show that the asshole had two entrees delivered to his room on the day of the shooting.
- At least three cellphones were found around the two rooms. Ditto computers.
- There were two shooting positions in two separate rooms.
- Each shooting position had a surveillance camera monitoring system viewing different areas.
- The shooter’s body was found wearing gloves in 32-135. Another pair of gloves was found at the shooting position in 32-134.
- Most of the weapons had 1) basic iron sights, 2) only front sights, 3) no sights, or 4) holographic sights.
- A note with ballistics calculations involving distance and elevation was found.
- Such calculation would be pointless with sightless rifles with bump-fire stocks (which decrease accuracy).
- A scoped .308 bolt-action rifle was found. This is a weapon precise enough to make ballistics calculations worthwhile… If shooting at a specific target, not generally into a crown of 22,000 packed into an area the size of several football fields.
- A spotting scope was found. One use for such is for a second person acting as a spotter for the shooter, so that shooter does not have to switch back and forth between scoped rifle and spotting scope.
- Crime scene photos show the dead shooter on the ground with one leg extended beneath a rifle mounted on a bipod. The rifle is not overturned. The shooter is prone on his back, arms beside him; the revolver which is alleged to be his suicide weapon is two feet above his head. Expended brass is seen on top of seemingly coagulated blood from the death wound.
- Cell phone video depicts simultaneous bursts of fire: one is a steady, lower-pitched boom, while the other is sharper cracks at a faster rate of fire.
While one could play Rambo and fire two automatic weapons simultaneously (with no real accuracy; so much for ballistic calculations), it would be impossible to do so with two bump-fired rifles.
Two meals, two pair of gloves, two shooting positions, two weapons apparently firing at the same time, a scoped rifle and a spotting scope.
One shooter. They promise.
Authorities say their investigation of motive is hampered because the hard drive is missing from one computer in the suite. Oddly enough, the shooter — who seems to be hiding something — didn’t bother with the hard drive with alleged child pornography further incriminating the… lone gunman.
Their closest thing to an eyewitness — the security guard who could reveal time line details — was allowed to leave the country. (And driving with a gunshot wound to the leg? I guess it was an automatic transmission.)
The girlfriend — who reportedly received at least $100,000 in wire transfers — admitted she helped load magazines, set her Facebook page to private before the shooter’s identity was released, then deleted the page. She is not considered a “person of interest.”
In fighting release of search warrants, authorities claimed there is a second “person of interest” and charges will be coming.
A clerical error revealed the second “person of interest” merely sold — in a lawful transaction –a box of tracers that authorities say wasn’t even used in the shooting.
Go read the ever-changing time line. Note the parts where they admit police were on the 32nd floor. Further note that early versions had someone firing into the hallway at approximately the same time that some was firing into the concert crowd, until revisions changed the sequence.
But the really fun stuff is very recent.
Multiple search warrant affidavits state (under oath, mind you) that at the time the “only shooter” was known to be dead, they were still receiving reports of more shots fired. Those reports tend to say that SWAT entered the room and found the suspect already dead.
But Sgt MacDonald’s first telephonic warrant was very different. And very specific: SWAT entered the room and observed the live suspect place a handgun to his head and fire one shot.
MacDonald later claimed — when folks reading the warrants spotted that — that it was an error, and SWAT absolutely found the guy already dead. How he gets from “found him dead” to “saw him alive, place a gun to his own head, and fire specifically one shot” is left as an exercise for the student.
Regardless of when the suspect died, we still have expended brass falling onto his blood. When the cops at last admitted that an officer fired inside the room, I considered the possibility of the negligent discharge being the source of those casings. But reports have it that the ND was in 32-134, not 32-135 where the body was.
And then we get to the autopsies.
Autopsy info on the victims was released in redacted form: names, race, gender blacked out. But cause of death and drug and alcohol toxicology screening data was included.
The shooter’s autopsy? Not so much.
Coroner Defies Court Order To Release Autopsy Of Vegas Mass Murderer [Asshole]
District Court Judge Timothy Williams ordered the coroner Tuesday to immediately release the autopsy. Fudenberg is conferring with others in his office, and no date had been given for his compliance with the judge’s order, the coroner’s office told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The office also told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which sued for the autopsy report, they wouldn’t release Paddock’s autopsy report until it was “finalized.”
Finalized? What’s to finalize? They did the autopsy. They said he died of a self-inflicted intraoral head wound. We’ve seen the results of the brain work: no abnormalities. Tox screen was finished on the victims, so you’d expect the asshole’s tox was wrapped up.
They cremated the body more than a month ago. The shooter’s brother has the cremains.
That’s about as final as it gets.
The cremation was odd, too. What coroner’s office cremates a body when the family is not only known, but actively trying to get custody of the remains? It wasn’t exactly a case of preventing the spread of ebola from an infected corpse.
Personally — and here I get to active speculation — I think “finalize” is bureaucratese for “I’m waiting for the feds to tell me what to say.”
Here’s the rest of my speculation:
Spec 1: Two shooting positions,two meals, two pair gloves, two surveillance systems at the two shooting positions, two weapons firing, disappearing evidence, oddly remaining evidence incriminating the “only shooter”… two shooters.
Spec 2: The accurate, scoped, bolt-action rifle, spotting scope, and ballistics calculations were for targeting a specific known person. You don’t need calculations to determine how to “accurately” hose a crowd of 22,000 with a bump-fired AR with no sights.
Spec 3: The rest of the woundings and killings were to mask the real operation.
I have no idea who the primary target was, or if that target was successfully taken down. The federal involvement and sudden silence suggests to me that it was political in nature; I’ve seen speculation involving a possible international assassination attempt, but supporting detail is not compelling. I just don’t know. Ditto for stuff I’ve heard about it being a fed-run false-flag operation: no data.
The suddenly deafening silence on the reported automatic weapons is another matter. One possible explanation for that was that they were pursuing the supplier. I thought the second “person of interest” might be that, until we learned that he’s the guy who sold the tracers we knew about months ago.
Spec 4: The feds might be after an automatic arms trafficker. But I also think they quickly noted the blood-dancers calling for “assault weapons” and bump-fire bans, and decided that playing down real machineguns would conveniently help along further restrictions on RKBA. It furthers an anti-gun agenda and provides cover for an investigation into full-auto arms trafficking. Two birds, one stone.
UPDATE, 2/2/2018, 7:30 PM:
So Douglas Haig, the second “person of interest” announces a press conference, and the very next morning the feds file charges against him, before the conference starts?
Man who sold Las Vegas gunman ammunition charged with making armor-piercing bullets
A man who sold ammunition to Stephen Paddock, the gunman who carried out the massacre in Las Vegas, has been charged with manufacturing armor-piercing bullets, according to court documents.
The charges against Douglas Haig were filed in federal court Friday. The documents said that unfired armor-piercing bullets found inside the hotel room where Paddock staged his attack carried Haig’s fingerprints.
Is it bullets or loaded cartridges? Are fingerprints on either sufficient for manufacturing charges? If so, I’m fucked, becuase I’ve left my fingerprints on a shitload of ammunition I didn’t manufacture. The timing strikes me as “Oh shit; he’s about to embarrass us. Make up something to charge him with and get it into court fast!” If all they can come up with is unlicensed API manufacture, why did it take a press conference to get charges moving?
I eagerly await whatever other evidence they have. He was damned smart to hire Marc Victor.