- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Investigators kept searching for a motive in the Las Vegas massacre by questioning the gunman’s girlfriend Wednesday, as President Trump jetted to the city to console victims and commend the heroes who rushed to their aid.

The FBI spent hours questioning the girlfriend of Stephen Paddock, trying to unravel why the 64-year-old millionaire opened fire in a carefully planned sniper attack that killed at least 58 people and wounded 489 at a country music concert Sunday night on the Las Vegas Strip.

The girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62, had been on a weeks-long trip abroad and returned late Tuesday from the Philippines, the country where she was born. Accompanied by a lawyer, she voluntarily met with investigators at the FBI field office in Los Angeles.

Ms. Danley said she didn’t know about Paddock’s murderous plans.

“I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man,” she said in a statement. “I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him. He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen.”

Investigators hope Ms. Danely is the key to understanding Paddock, who killed himself before police got into the 32nd floor suite at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where he had broken out windows and opened fire on concert-goers below.

Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a news conference Wednesday evening that Paddock had planned to escape but didn’t elaborate on how.

“He was a very demented person and we haven’t seen [a motive] yet, but we will know very soon if we find something,” Mr. Trump said while visiting victims at University Medical Center in Las Vegas. “We are looking very hard.”

The president spent the day meeting with victims, medical teams that treated them and first responders who sprang into action when the gunfire rang out Sunday night. At the hospital, he spontaneously invited some of the wounded to visit the White House when they recover.

“I said, ‘If you are ever in Washington, come on over to the Oval Office.’ And they are all saying, ‘I want to do it. I want to do it,’ ” Mr. Trump told reporters. “And believe me, I’ll be there for them.”

He said that his message for the victims and the entire city of Las Vegas is that the country is with them.

It was Mr. Trump’s second trip this week to console suffering Americans. He spent Tuesday in Puerto Rico to hearten victims and review recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria.

“The mass murder that took place on Sunday night fills America’s heart with grief. America is truly a nation in mourning,” Mr. Trump said at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

“Our souls are stricken with grief for every American who lost a husband or a wife, a mother or a wife, a son or a daughter,” he said. “We know that your sorrow feels endless. We stand together to help you carry your pain. You are not alone. We will never leave your side.”

Surrounded by police and citizens who came to the aid of the wounded that night, Mr. Trump said he was “in the company of heroes.”

Meanwhile, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said investigators were busy “reconstructing the life, the behavior, the pattern of activity” of the man responsible for the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.

Ms. Danley had been living with Paddock since at least 2013. She met Paddock, a high-stakes gambler, while working as a hostess in a Reno casino.

She is from the Philippines but is a citizen of Australia. While she was in the Philippines before the attack, Paddock sent her $100,000.

Ms. Danley’s sisters in Australia said in a TV interview that she is a “good person” and didn’t know what Paddock planned, and that he likely sent her away so she couldn’t interfere.

“She probably was even [more] shocked than us because she is more closer to him than us,” said one of the sisters, who live near Brisbane.

Mandalay Bay hotel records turned over to investigators showed that Paddock had requested the suite on the 32nd floor overlooking the concert grounds, another indication of a carefully plotted attack.

Paddock was given the room for free because he was a good customer who wagered tens of thousands of dollars each time he visited the casino.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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