A key ingredient found in assembling homemade bombs was discovered in the car of Stephen Paddock, who policy say killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 on Sunday night in a mass shooting that turned a country music festival into a scene of carnage.
Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters that several pounds of ammonium nitrate, a high-nitrogen fertilizer often used in homemade bombs, was found in Paddock’s car.
Lombardo said a commercially available explosive called tannerite was found at the gunman’s home in Mesquite, Nevada.
A motive for the attack has not yet emerged, even after a day of investigation.
“I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point,” Lombardo said.
Authorities do believe Paddock acted alone. Police have revealed that a woman they thought at one point was his accomplice was his girlfriend whose name and identification Paddock used to rent the room from which he waged his attack.
More than 16 guns were found in Paddock’s hotel room, Lombardo said. More weapons were found at his house.
“We retrieved in excess of 18 additional firearms, some explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo along with some electronic items we are evaluating,” he said.
Christopher Sullivan, who runs a gun shop in Mesquite, Nevada, said Paddock had legally purchased a handgun and two rifles within the last year.
After police entered Paddock’s room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort And Casino, they found two rifles with scopes on tripods positioned in front of two windows in which the glass had been broken.
The Wall Street Journal reported police found “AR-15-style and AK-47-type rifles as well as a huge cache of ammunition.”
Police said the guns had been modified to make them automatic.
Ammonium nitrate is harmless by itself, but can be combined with other easily available ingredients to make a bomb. The compound was one of the ingredients in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings that killed over 150 people.