Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas — the deadliest in modern U.S. history — is a reminder that times have changed, and people need to be prepared wherever they go, a San Diego threat assessment professional said.
“This incident reminds us that times have changed,” said Wendy Patrick, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney and threat assessment professional. “We live in a day and age where we’ve got to be prepared. It’s not about paranoia, it’s about preparedness.”
The man who opened fire on an outdoor concert on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing at least 58 people and wounding 515 more before he was found dead in a 32nd floor hotel room, has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada.
Patrick, a certified threat manager, said this mass shooting is unique because of Paddock’s shooting location: the hotel across the street from the country music festival.
“Just when we thought we’d seen every way we could have a mass shooting, this is something a little different because of the vantage point of the shooter,” Patrick said.
“He was in a hotel with no open spaces, with no balconies, not the kind of place that would have been under surveillance by law enforcement,” Patrick said.
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino does not have security screenings on the way up to guest rooms, like most hotels, Patrick said. That made getting the weapons — at least 10 rifles — up to his hotel room easy.
“If you’re part of the security team at one of those soft target events, that’s not one of those things that would first and foremost be at the top of your radar as where gunfire might come from,” Patrick said.
People at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, where 22,000 people were in attendance, took cover as bullets sprayed the concert from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, according to authorities and witness accounts. One performer who was on the stage said the gunfire appeared to go on for seven to 10 minutes.
Paddock was found dead in the casino and is believed to have killed himself, Lombardo said. The shooting was believed to be a “lone wolf” attack.
Even with heavy security screening at the event, Patrick said, preventing something like that would have been difficult.
“In other words, we can have security screening, we can have great police presence at a soft target event, but that doesn’t protect those people from sniper fire,” she told NBC 7.
Authorities have not yet speculated on a possible motive for the massacre. There is no known connection to international terrorism, FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said. The announcement came after ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting without providing evidence. The group has made exaggerated or false claims in the past.
Patrick also offered several tips for those attending soft target events like concerts or music festivals in the future.
- Wear comfortable shoes you can run in, if needed
- Bring a charged cell phone and spare battery pack
- Have pre-programmed numbers in your phone, including numbers for local law enforcement officials and loved ones, so you can call to let people know you’re safe
- Monitor social media
- Keep sunglasses off to remain aware
- Bring any needed medication with you
“If we want to enjoy our lives and go to concerts and parks and all the types of things we enjoy doing with our families, we have to make sure we’re smart about preparation,” Patrick said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.