Police In Las Vegas Say 'Several Rifles' Found In Shooter's Room

Oct 2, 2017
Originally published on October 2, 2017 11:44 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All of our attention this morning is on the city of Las Vegas. It appears that the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history took place there last night near the Las Vegas Strip. And this is what we know. At this point, we're told by the authorities at least 50 people were killed. More than 200 have been wounded. The alleged shooter has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. He was a Las Vegas resident. He is dead. There are many, many questions to be answered about what his motive might have been.

President Trump has put out a statement on Twitter this morning saying, quote, "my warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you." And we have been following reaction from around the world from members of Congress and others.

I want to turn now to Las Vegas. Blake Apgar is a reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He described - has been describing to us how he rushed to the scene as soon as he got word of this this morning. Hi there, Blake.

BLAKE APGAR: Hi.

GREENE: I'm just curious - where are you now? And I know you have been speaking to some people who were actually at this concert. What are they describing?

APGAR: You know, I talked to several different people who were at this concert. (Unintelligible).

GREENE: We should say we're having a little trouble understanding you, Blake. And we're going to try and work out the line situation. Hopefully, we can we can get you back on a cleaner line. So stay with us. In the studio with me right now, NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas. Ryan, I guess the federal authorities are monitoring this, maybe getting involved. What do we know at this point?

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Well, the FBI says that it is providing assistance as part of what it calls a joint response with the Las Vegas PD. Now, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo a couple of minutes ago in Las Vegas - he said that the FBI is on the scene. The special agent in charge of the FBI field office was there - and that they're providing all the resources that the federal government has to kind of bring to bear in a situation like this. Now, in terms of what else the FBI is going to do, they'll help with the investigation in any way that they can.

But right now we just - we don't know that much about Stephen Paddock. We don't know his motivation. We don't know where the weapon was from. From what the Las Vegas sheriff said, there were 10 weapons in the room. This is something that the FBI will presumably help kind of trace, figure out where those weapons came from. Did he acquire them legally? And the Clark County sheriff has also told reporters that they do not believe that Patrick had any links to a militant group. This is something that the FBI, as well, can help kind of dig into.

GREENE: That's really important because there was a deputy sheriff, I think, who described this as, in his words, domestic terrorism. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you have ties to some group. I mean, that could just be - it sounded like he was describing if a man kills more than 50 people, as the authorities suggest, that that in itself could be domestic terrorism.

LUCAS: Right. Domestic terrorism is - can be kind of a slippery term, and people can use it in different ways without - there is no domestic terrorism crime, for example. There's no - you can't be charged with domestic terrorism at this point - something people have talked about trying to change. But I wouldn't start running down that path quite yet.

GREENE: Important, though, that the FBI is saying already that no ties - no known ties - to groups. They can say that with some level of certainty.

LUCAS: That wasn't the FBI. That was the Clark County sheriff.

GREENE: That's the sheriff's department. OK.

LUCAS: Yeah.

GREENE: So federal authorities have not even addressed that question yet.

LUCAS: No. No.

GREENE: OK. And we'll be listening to much more from you as you cover the federal response to this. I want to turn back to Blake Apgar, who I think we have a better connection with. He's a reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Blake, you there?

LUCAS: Yeah. Yeah.

GREENE: OK. Sorry about the stress over the quality of your line. We just want to make sure our listeners can hear you. Where exactly are you right now.

APGAR: OK. Right now I am at the lobby of the Michael Jackson Cirque de Soleil theater in Mandalay Bay.

GREENE: There is something about that that reminds me that Las Vegas is a tourist destination where most people go to have fun. And so telling that a lot of these places where they're taking people and where they evacuated people are places like that, a theater named after Michael Jackson.

APGAR: Yeah. It's interesting. You know, on the topic of tourists, one of the issues that we're seeing right now is people are unable to get back to their hotel rooms or unable to get, you know, their medication. They have flights that are leaving this morning. And they're not going to be able to get their things.

GREENE: Oh. So they might have to fly home and leave everything in a hotel if it's part of an investigation or something like that.

APGAR: You know, well, I'm not sure about that. But I do know that access to a hotel room is difficult right now. And I'm not sure exactly how the resorts are going to deal with that issue.

GREENE: What is standing out to you at this point as you've been listening to the voices of people who who were at that concert?

APGAR: You know, the thing that really strikes me is just the complete and utter panic. I've also talked to a couple of people who reported that they heard shots for what seemed like 15 to 20...

GREENE: Did you say 15 to 20 minutes? We lost that last word.

APGAR: Yeah. Yeah, 15 to 20 minutes.

GREENE: The shots were being fired that long, the witnesses are telling you.

APGAR: And that's what I'm hearing from witnesses. Now, you know, when you're in that situation, I know that time can get kind of twisted up.

GREENE: Sure.

APGAR: But that's what I've heard from multiple people.

GREENE: All right. Blake Apgar is a reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He's been updating us throughout the morning. Blake, we really appreciate the time. Thank you.

APGAR: All right. Thank you.

GREENE: I want to just turn to my colleague now, Scott Detrow, also in our studios here in Washington. I guess a lot of attention is going to be focused on the White House and President Trump to see how he reacts to this and deals with this moment.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: That's right. And he has, I think to put it frankly, a mixed record when it comes to assuming that role that you typically turn to the president for after a national tragedy. Of course, we all remember the divisive way he spoke about the attack in Charlottesville during the protests and marches there that left one person killed. That became a weeks-long controversy that created a lot of divisiveness.

At other times, though, after the congressional baseball shooting in Virginia in June, President Trump gave a unifying statement at the White House, talking about how everyone's thoughts and prayers were with the Congress. Steve Scalise - talking a lot about Steve Scalise. But by and large, President Trump often has jumped to conclusions, said things on social media or in statements that haven't been verified by officials yet. So I think a lot of people wondering how the president will respond. Again, we're expecting him to speak later this morning.

GREENE: OK. Joined in our studios by NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas and also my colleague Scott Detrow. Thanks, guys.

DETROW: Thank you.

LUCAS: Thank you.

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