By Adam Goldman and Jennifer Medina
The New York Times
As he meticulously planned the Las Vegas attack, the man responsible for the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history took elaborate steps to stymie the inevitable law enforcement investigation, according to federal court documents unsealed Friday.
The FBI search warrants shed new light on the degree to which the gunman, Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 others after opening fire from a hotel room in October, planned the attack and prepared for the aftermath. One of the warrants described how Paddock “destroyed or tried to hide digital media devices.”
Investigators said he used anonymous communications devices, including a prepaid cellphone, to cover his tracks, and employed a “level of sophistication which is commonly found in mass casualty events.”
“Paddock planned the attack meticulously and took many methodical steps to avoid detection of his plot and to thwart the eventual law enforcement investigation that would follow,” the FBI said.
Paddock’s motive for the attack remains unknown.
The search warrants, which were approved by judges shortly after the shooting, said three cellphones belonging to Paddock were found in his Mandalay Bay hotel room, including two that investigators searched and one that they could not unlock without assistance. An FBI agent wrote that he believed “if there were any information related to a potential conspiracy it would be found within” the locked phone, which used a Google operating system.
The warrants detail how law enforcement focused on Marilou Danley, the girlfriend of Paddock. She has not been charged and has spoken to investigators several times. Her lawyer has said she was not aware of Paddock’s deadly plans. The investigation is continuing, and the warrants show only the early stages of the investigation.
“She has been identified thus far as the most likely person who aided or abetted Stephen Paddock based on…