Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas gunman, tried to purchase “tracer rounds” in recent weeks so that he could better see his targets, officials told CNN on Friday.
Paddock attempted to make a purchase at a Phoenix gun show in recent weeks. He bought other types of ammunition but couldn’t get tracer rounds, which leave an illuminated trace in its path.
WTF? Who took this? Adam Le Fevre and Stephen Paddock in a drone-captured photo pic.twitter.com/TU1h2GkCHo
— Joni Job (@jj_talking) October 6, 2017
The vendor he tried to purchase the rounds from didn’t have any, an unnamed official was quoted by the network as saying.
Paddock used normal rounds when he fired into a crowd of concert-goers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a country music concert, on Sunday evening, Oct. 1.
new pic of Stephen Paddock using a mobile phone pic.twitter.com/6MvbByuVjB
— ?️?️?️?️?️❗ (@__0HOUR1_) October 6, 2017
The official said that if he had used tracer rounds, more people would have likely died because he could have gotten a better idea of where his shots were going in the darkness of night.
Tracer rounds, however, could have allowed police to get a better idea of where Paddock was perched when he was shooting. Reports say that it took more than an hour to find him. When police entered Paddock’s room, he was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Las Vegas police.
“He was doing everything possible to see how he could escape,” Las Vegas Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Thursday.
However, officials have not been able yet to piece together Paddock’s motive.
Tracing Paddock’s footsteps in Mesquite, the Nevada desert retirement community where he lived, provides scant clues about why, according to authorities, he carried out the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history. Hardly anyone noticed the man.
“Nobody knew him. I literally never saw him,” said a neighbor who lives two doors down from Paddock’s home and who declined to be named. “The house was so quiet, we thought they were snowbirds,” he added, referring to retirees who spent the winter months in warm-weather places like Mesquite, Reuters reported.
— A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) October 6, 2017
Garbage cans were put out on the street before anyone else was even awake, leaving no opportunity for casual chats with neighbors living just feet away. Yard work was done by gardeners. Pizza came directly to the door, and as far as anyone knew, Paddock never took part in bingo or bocce, or any of the social activities provided by the retirement community.
By all accounts, Paddock was a man of few words who never sought to interact with others beyond his live-in companion, Marilou Danley, a 62-year-old former casino employee described by authorities as person of interest in the investigation.
Neighbors immediately next to Paddock’s mustard-colored stucco home, landscaped with stones and desert plants, displayed a sign on their door: “We did not know him.”
Reuters contributed to this report.