Police recovered a huge cache of guns and explosives from the Las Vegas hotel room and home of the man accused of killing at least 59 people and injuring over 500 in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
US officials reacted cautiously meanwhile to an Islamic State claim that Stephen Craig Paddock (64) had carried out Sunday night’s massacre on the Las Vegas Strip on behalf of the jihadist group.
Police said Paddock, a retired accountant with no criminal record, smashed windows in his 32nd floor hotel room shortly after 10pm and trained bursts of automatic weapons fire on thousands of people attending a country music concert below.
Investigators recovered at least 16 guns, including assault rifles, from Paddock’s room at the Mandalay Bay hotel, and another 18 firearms along with bomb-making materials at one of his two homes.
The Islamic State group claimed that Paddock was one of its “soldiers” but the FBI said it had found no such connection so far and the local sheriff described him as a lone “psychopath.”
Police said Paddock killed himself before a SWAT team breached his hotel room overlooking the country music venue.
Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said a security guard was shot in the leg as officers stormed the room where Paddock had been staying since 28 September.
He said a search of Paddock’s house in Mesquite, Nevada, recovered “in excess of 18 additional firearms, some explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo.”
Lombardo said investigators had discovered several pounds of an explosive called tannerite in the Mesquite home, as well as ammonium nitrate, a type of fertiliser, in the gunman’s car.
The sheriff said the death toll had risen to 59, while 527 people had been injured.