Autopsy Performed on Vegas Gunman’s Brain: Report
An autopsy was performed on Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock’s brain, said Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo as officials are trying to piece together why he went on a shooting rampage that left 58 people dead.
Lombardo told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the autopsy revealed no abnormalities in his brain as of Tuesday. Last week, there were theories that he suffered from a brain tumor or another type of disorder, leading to mental instability before the shooting.
Paddock’s toxicology test results have not been returned yet, Lombardo said. The tests would show if he was on alcohol or drugs when he died, which took place right after the shooting.
Days after the shooting, officials said they believed that he might have suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness as they haven’t been able to determine a motive.
Kevin McMahill, of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, was quoted by ABC News as saying: “We thought we might find some ideology, some economic or political or social reason. Some medical reason. But we haven’t found it yet.”
McMahill said they haven’t ruled out a possibility that he launched the single largest mass shooting in U.S. history simply because he could.
He said, “That’s certainly a possibility but it’s one of those possibilities you really can’t wrap your mind around. I don’t know if I can accept that.”
Eric Paddock, the shooter’s younger brother, told The Washington Post that he wasn’t aware of any mental illness.
“Something broke in his head is the only thing possible. Did he have a stroke?” he asked the paper. “I’m hoping they cut open his brain and find something. There’s a data point missing.”
His girlfriend, Marilou Danley, also told officials that she had no concerns about his mental health before the attack.
In 1966, when lone gunman Charles Whitman shot and killed 17 people at the University of Texas, officials noted that he had a small brain tumor. But some doctors concluded that the tumor wouldn’t have an effect on his actions. Whitman’s case has been invoked in the press after Paddock’s rampage, with some noting their similarities.
Meanwhile, there has been criticism levied against the Las Vegas Police Department’s response time.
Lombardo said that police officials were not trying to cover anything up a day after revising the timeline for the shooting, Reuters reported on Oct. 11.
“No matter what that timeline was, the response was as quick as possible. I don’t think the response could have been any faster,” Lombardo said in a video posted on the station’s LasVegasNow.com website.
Lombardo on Monday said Paddock shot hotel security guard Jesus Campos, who was checking on an open-door fire alarm on the same floor, six minutes before beginning to fire on the crowd.
Officials initially said Paddock, who had placed hidden cameras outside the room to monitor activity, first fired into the concert and then stopped shooting after strafing the hotel hallway through the doorway of his room when Campos was apparently detected by the gunman.
“Our picture of the suspect is getting a little bit brighter,” he said. “I think we will have a pretty good assessment of the reasons why, but it is going to take time.”
Reuters contributed to this report.