In preparation for his bloody massacre, Stephen Paddock reportedly checked into several other hotels across the country during high profile events, possibly scouting a venue for an attack.
Hotel records show that Paddock had checked in to several hotels in Chicago and in Boston over the past several months.
In Chicago, he booked two rooms at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago during the annual Lollapalooza festival. Barack Obama’s daughter Malia attended this festival, according to the Daily Mail.
The event had over 400,000 gathered at Chicago’s Grant Park on the shore of Lake Michigan. The Blackstone Hotel overlooks the entire concert location.
Images obtained by TMZ show Paddock checking into the rooms in late July and early August.
Both rooms overlooked the festival area, and Paddock would have had a similar view of the crowd as he had in Las Vegas during the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on Sunday.
“We are aware of the media reports and have been in communication with our federal partners. As you saw earlier this week the city conducts extensive public safety planning and training around major events, in close coordination with our law enforcement partners, to ensure public safety,” a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said.
Interestingly, though, Paddock did not show up for his bookings. The fact that he did get rooms with a view over the festival area indicates that he was indeed planning the attack longer before he carried it out.
He also had scouted locations in Boston according to anonymous sources familiar with details of the investigation.
He also researched possible locations in Boston online, according to multiple reports.
Anonymous officials said that Paddock looked for hotels near Fenway Park, where the Red Sox play and the Boston Center for the Arts. The Boston Globe reported it was not known if the gunman went as far as making any reservations though.
Paddock had also requested reservations for the Ogden hotel and another unnamed hotel in Las Vegas about a week and a half before he carried out the attack from Mandalay Bay. The Life is Beautiful open-air festival was held in Vegas from September 22-24.
Paddock ended up reserving rooms at the Mandalay Bay though, and carried out the massacre on the Route 91 festival attendees.
Many details of the attack are still a mystery to investigators days later. It does not appear that he was actually ISIS-inspired or directed as the terrorist group has claimed, and there are no indications that he was seen as a threat to himself or others in the days leading up to the attack.
It’s simply one of the most bizarre attacks this country has ever suffered. In the hours following the attacks at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Pulse night club, by contrast, the motivations for the attack were realized in a fairly short amount of time.
There are reports that Paddock was prescribed an anti-anxiety medication earlier in the summer, but it is still unclear if mental illness played a role in the attack. The only things that are known is that he was firing the weapons from that building, that he was found dead, and had nothing in his background that indicates a proclivity for such violence.
Many questions remain, and may take many days to answer.