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Vegas gunman had written note to help him calculate more precise shots

The arsenal of weapons in Stephen Paddock’s hotel room was like something “out of a movie”, police said.

Image: Eric Paddock via AP

INVESTIGATORS BELIEVE A note found in the Las Vegas gunman’s hotel room contained a series of numbers that helped him calculate more precise shots, a law enforcement official said.

Vice President Mike Pence appeared at a prayer service in Las Vegas yesterday to mourn the victims of last weekend’s concert shooting and to praise those who risked their lives to save others.

Federal officials also began hauling away thousands of personal items left behind in the concert venue after Stephen Paddock unleashed a fury of gunfire from his Mandalay Bay hotel room, killing 58 people and injuring nearly 500.

The investigation

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press yesterday that the numbers found on a note located on a nightstand included the distance between the high-rise hotel room that Paddock was using as a perch and the concert below.

The official wasn’t authorised to discuss the details of the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In an interview set to air later today, Officer David Newton of the Las Vegas Police Department’s K-9 unit, told CBS’ 60 Minutes he noticed Paddock’s note “on the nightstand near his shooting platform”.

“I could see on it he had written the distance, the elevation he was on, the drop of what his bullet was going to be for the crowd. So he had that written down and figured out so he would know where to shoot to hit his targets from there,” he said.

Newton added that forcing entry into the room with an explosive before finding Paddock’s body and an arsenal of weapons was like something “out of a movie”.

It was “very eerie,” he said.

Investigators are still working to determine why Paddock committed the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

On Friday, FBI agents announced plans to put up billboards throughout Las Vegas to ask people with credible information to call with tips. The number is 800-CALL-FBI.

“We still do not have a clear motive or reason why,” Undersheriff Kevin McMahill of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told reporters Friday, adding that law enforcement was continuing to search for answers with “great tenacity”.

Forever etched in our hearts

Vice President Mike Pence told mourners at a prayer service in Las Vegas that the memory of the victims of last weekend’s shooting massacre will “forever be etched into the hearts of the American people.”

Las Vegas Shooting Pence Source: Isaac Brekken

“It was a tragedy of unimaginable proportions,” Pence said as he addressed nearly 300 people at Las Vegas City Hall.

The vice president traveled to Vegas yesterday to attend a ceremony honoring the 58 victims. He says amid the depths of horror, Americans have found hope in those who risked their lives to help save others after the shooting.

After he spoke, 58 doves were released on the steps of City Hall to commemorate each victim. Someone shouted, “God bless America” as the doves disappeared into the distance.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman told the audience that the focus needs to remain on the victims, not “that horrific senseless animal”.

“He is my hero”

One of the first memorials services for victims of the Las Vegas shooting massacre was held yesterday in Bakersfield, California, for Jack Beaton, who died shielding his wife from gunfire.

Las Vegas Shooting Funerals Source: Silvia Flores/AP Photo

His wife, Laurie, recalled that he yelled at her to get on the ground, put his body on top of hers for protection and told her he loved her before going limp.

“I knew every day that he would protect me and take care of me and love me unconditionally, and what he did is no surprise to me,” she said. “He is my hero.”

Jack Beaton was remembered as a fun-loving friend, a hard-working roofer by trade, a generous and kind-hearted neighbor, and, above all, a devoted husband and father to two children.

“Our people, they didn’t run”

Members of a private security firm that manned last weekend’s concert and stayed in the venue to help other people flee are starting to return to work .

“Our people, they didn’t run,” said supervisor Cheryl Metzler.

The Las Vegas branch of Contemporary Services Corporation lifted concertgoers over barriers and hid them behind pillars as gunfire rang out from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel casino. Many are traumatized and mourning the loss of a co-worker, 21-year-old Erick Silva, who was among the 58 people killed. Two other guards were wounded.

Darla Christensen was checking concertgoers’ bags and boots for alcohol and contraband and inspecting wristbands when gunfire erupted. She grabbed other guards and patrons and pushed them toward a side gate.

On Friday, she put on her uniform to work a UFC weigh-in, her first event since the shooting. “Even just going, even just getting dressed, was hard,” she said. “It was really tough.”

With reporting from AFP

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