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New reports indicate Stephen Paddock, the man who shot hundreds of people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, may have planned to stage a catastrophic mass shooting for a long time. Screenshots from a computer at a hotel in Chicago show the mass murderer may have intended to try to get close to the 400,000 people who attended Lollapalooza earlier this year. Apparently, Paddock booked two rooms with a view of Grant Park, where the event took place. He set the checkout date for August 6, the last day of Lollapalooza, but he never showed up.
The screenshots came from the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago. According to TMZ, the hotel had a view of the main stage at Lollapalooza, which saw daily crowds of 100,000 people including Malia Obama and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The report received mixed feedback from people who said the Blackstone Hotel was not directly across from the main stage, as the hotel's map suggests. Regardless, the news indicated the Las Vegas shooter booked a room near a crowd at a place he wasn't prone to visiting. The Chicago Police Department confirmed it received word about the booking at the hotel. The chief of police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi also told the Chicago Tribune,
We are aware of the media reports and have been in communication with our federal partners.
The reports about Lollapalooza are part of the ongoing investigation into Stephen Paddock's history and his movements over the past months. In addition to renting rooms in Chicago during Lollapalooza, the gunman rented condos at The Ogden in Las Vegas during the Life Is Beautiful Festival one week before the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Life Is Beautiful was a music event that took place from September 22 to 24 and featured acts like Chance the Rapper, Lorde, and Wiz Khalifa, and The Ogden overlooked the shows. One implication is Paddock wanted to inflict harm on people there. Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo confirmed Paddock rented condos at The Ogden via Airbnb, but Lombardo did not provide a thorough report of what wanted to do there. Lombardo said law enforcement had obtained items and video from The Ogden, and he said,
This is all pre-conjecture. Was he doing pre-surveillance? We don't know yet.
A week after the Life Is Beautiful Festival, Stephen Paddock shot hundreds of rounds of bullets into a crowd of thousands of people. Paddock wounded more than 500 people and killed 59 people.
Since the news broke about the Las Vegas shooting, people from coast to coast have been paying tribute to the victims and responding with demonstrations, vigils, and blood bank donations. Stories continue to surface about the goodness of heroes who carried victims to safety, laid on top of their loved ones to provide protection, and held dying victims in their arms. The tragedy is heartbreaking. Hopefully, the authorities can figure out every last detail about the Las Vegas shooting and what the shooter intended with places near the other festivals.