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September 20, 2018

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Sheriff: Person of interest part of Strip shooting probe; Paddock had child porn

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Yasmina Chavez

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo conducts a briefing on the Oct. 1 Strip mass shooting at Metro Police headquarters Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.

Updated Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 | 6:30 p.m.

An unidentified person of interest is being investigated by the FBI in relation to the Oct. 1 shooting, but Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo would not say who, only confirming that the gunman’s girlfriend is not expected to face any charges.

He also reaffirmed that Stephen Paddock, 64, was the only shooter.

Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of a Strip hotel tower into a crowd attending a country music concert across the street, killing 58 people. Lombardo Friday updated the number of injured from more than 500 to 851, including 422 who suffered gunshot wounds.

Metro Police, in an unprecedented decision, released a preliminary 81-page report of the investigation, beginning from the days leading up to the shooting and a brief overview of Paddock, his online search history, which included research of various venues, munitions and tactics, Lombardo said. Investigators found hundreds of photos of child pornography.

The report is the most comprehensive account of the massacre to date, its timeline, evidence recovered and a profile of Paddock, crime-scene photos and the immediate police response. A full report is expected toward the end of the year, Lombardo said.

As of Friday, a motive has not been established, but Lombardo said Paddock was not radicalized and stopped shooting when he sensed police were coming. He had enough weapons and ammunition to continue the onslaught, Lombardo said.

Prior to the attack, Paddock’s online searches included research into SWAT tactics and consideration of other potential public targets, including in Chicago, Boston and Santa Monica, Calif., the sheriff said.

His research also sought the number of attendees at other concerts in Las Vegas and the size of the crowds at Santa Monica’s beach. Among his searches was “do police use explosives,” the report said.

Soon after gunfire erupted, a Metro detective grabbed a pair of binoculars, directed his vision to the hotel and saw “a silhouette of a male standing in a shooting position several feet back from a window.”

The officer could see the smoke from at least one muzzle, but not a flash, according to the report.

The next time police encountered Paddock, his body was lying on the floor in his 32nd floor suite, a puddle of blood forming by his head, a revolver nearby.

Investigators found 23 guns in the rooms, including 12 rifles fitted with “bump stock” devices that allowed rapid-fire shooting similar to fully automatic weapons. Dozens of guns were strewn around the room, some left inside a bassinet. Police also found a blue plastic hose with a fan on one end and a snorkel mouthpiece on the other end inside the room.

The report details Paddock’s whereabouts from mid-September to later in the month when he had overlapping reservations at the downtown Las Vegas high-rise condo and the Mandalay Bay. He would spend time in both locations, but also traveled back to his homes in Reno and Mesquite, and Arizona. He’d gambled for long periods of time.

His stay at the Ogden also overlooked and coincided with the Life is Beautiful Festival the week before the massacre, according to the report.

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., in a national television appearance Thursday night, claimed to have evidence to suggesting that the Islamic State was connected to the shooting and had infiltrated the United States through the southern border.

Lombardo said, “I’d like to see the evidence.”

To date, investigators have combed through roughly 2,000 leads, and 21,560 hours of video, Lombardo said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.