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Judge unseals search warrants in Las Vegas shootings

David Montero, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LAS VEGAS -- A federal judge Friday unsealed more than 300 pages of search warrants related to the mass shootings in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and wounded hundreds, but the documents do little to reveal what prompted the attack. Instead, they demonstrate how authorities continue to seek answers to many questions surrounding the actions and motive of the gunman, Stephen Paddock.

The search warrants covered electronic accounts of Paddock and his girlfriend, Marilou Danley. They had been sealed for months, but lawyers for several media companies argued for their release.

One warrant the search Paddock's hotel room resulted in the recovery of three cellphones. Two were unlocked, but "neither contained significant information that allowed investigators to determine the full scope of Stephen Paddock's planning and preparation for the attack."

The third phone could not be unlocked.

Paddock opened fire into a crowd at a country music festival on Oct. 1 from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. He ultimately shot himself in the head while in the room.

Warrants also showed that investigators found an email identified by investigators as Paddock's where he received a message from an account identified as that read, "for a thrill try out bumpfire ar's with 100 round magazine."

"Investigators believe these communications may have been related to the eventual attack that occurred at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas," the court document read.

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U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey said she saw no reason to keep the warrants unsealed -- especially since lawyers with the federal government did not oppose the unsealing, with some minor redactions.

However, 10 pages were kept under seal pending a hearing in state court Tuesday morning.

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