As the investigation surrounding the Las Vegas massacre continues, and new details emerge, there have been many breaking revelations about the note left by the killer. The details are disturbing, to say the least.
According to CBS News, what was presumed to be a suicide note turned out to include calculations handwritten by the killer, Stephen Paddock. The bullet trajectory calculations guided Paddock’s aim to maximize his shooting performance and body count.
A photo has been circulating in the media showing a note on a table near Paddock’s body in the hotel suite, leading many to speculate that it was a suicide note. However, the officers who stormed Paddock’s room said that that was not the case.
A team of law enforcement officers had to use explosives to breach Paddock’s 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. The smoke from the explosives set off a fire alarm and flashing lights, creating an eerie scene as they discovered Paddock’s body.
K9 Officer Dave Newton of the Las Vegas Police Department first noticed the note upon his team’s initial entrance into the killer’s hotel suite. He told CBS’s 60 Minutes that, “I could see on it he had written the distance, the elevation he was on, the drop of what his bullet was gonna be for for the crowd… So he had had that written down and figured out so he would know where to shoot to hit his targets from there.”
It is unclear if the calculations were the only contents of the note. The note was found on a table near one of two windows Paddock smashed with a hammer found in the room, along with at least two dozen weapons, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. He aimed through that window to commit the heinous massacre that ended 58 lives and injured more than 500 more.
As investigators work to piece together the crime and desperately search for a motive, it’s becoming clearer how calculated Paddock really was. The bullet trajectory calculations are seemingly consistent with Paddock’s other complex and methodical behaviors.
Family members and neighbors spoke of Paddock’s compulsive gambling habits, and how he applied algorithms that helped him secure tens of thousands of dollars in winnings.
Eric Paddock, the killer’s younger brother, said, “He was a math guy… He could tell you off the top of his head what the odds were down to a tenth of a percent on whatever machine he was playing. He studied it like it was a Ph.D. thing. It was not silly gambling. It was work.”
Note found in LV shooter’s room consisted of bullet trajectory calculations. Does it appear he was experienced with firearms?
Bullet trajectory calculations can be a bit confusing to the average American, but they are well-known to sports shooters and hunters. As soon as a bullet leaves the barrel, gravity begins to pull the bullet down. To compensate for this, the shooter must aim above the target. The trajectory calculation entails first measuring the distance to a target, and then applying elevation changes in order to find the number of inches one must aim above the target.
The fact that Paddock could understand and create these calculations indicates that he may have had more experience shooting firearms than initially suspected.
Authorities still believe Paddock acted alone. A week after the horrific event, investigators still haven’t found a clear motive for the shooting. Hopefully, more clues will emerge soon.