2 October 2017, Initial report – concert mass murderer used Mandalay Bay as shooting perch

Oct Tue, 2017 Hotel Attacks

Below is an initial report of the worst mass shooting in US history where the shooter used the Mandalay Bay Resort and Hotel as a firing position to attack the Route 91 country music concert. The facts in this case are fluid and subject to change.

The attack

Police response

The shooter’s weaponry

The shooter’s perch

Outlying issues

There are four preliminary takeaways here. First, the shooter was calculated and methodical in his set up and execution of the attack. It was intentional and premeditated. He was aiming for a mass casualty event, and he achieved it. The shooter demonstrated skill in selecting his firing position, he showed deadly effectiveness in having two firing angles in a single room, and he exhibited high efficiency – and ruthlessness – in dropping his bullets on a purely civilian target so far away.

Second, terrorists and mass casualty attackers are increasingly using light infantry war zone tactics in non-war zone areas. Globally, this is not a brand new phenomenon, but it is indeed increasing, especially since 2015. Paris, Istanbul, and Brussels have seen it. Both Sousse and Tunis in Tunisia have seen it, and the US saw it in the San Bernardino, Calif. and Alexandria, Va. attacks.

Third, and in line with this latter observation, the shooter set up a machine-gun position inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel the exact same way a soldier would set up such a position in a war zone like Afghanistan. But whereas the soldier in Afghanistan might use his lofty firing position to put sustained, plunging fire on an enemy position to cover his squad mates as they closed with and destroyed the enemy position, the Mandalay shooter simply shot up a concert packed with civilians.

As an aside, the application of this tactic – plunging and sustained machine-gun fire on a civilian venue – is a first for the United States and perhaps a first for non-war zone, developed countries around the world.

Fourth, the motive of the attack is currently unclear. Muir Analytics believes that it is possible the shooter was acting out because of a psychotic/sociopathic episode like the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut. Supposition from some news outlets suggesting the man simply snapped, however, is unlikely because of the extensive preplanning involved. Moreover, attacks such as these are frequently, but not always, motivated by political, religious, or other social rage and/or resentment issues. Still, the jury remains out on a reason for the attack, and investigators might uncover evidence that explains the “why” behind this in the coming days.

On 3 October at 8:30 am, Dr. Michael Mark Welner, M.D., forensic psychiatrist and Chairman of The Forensic Panel, said on a morning news show the gunman in this case was out to cause a “massive spectacle,” and that this is an indicator of an individual seeking to make a statement based on religious, political, social, and/or economic issues.

Lastly, Muir finds it interesting that a woman proclaimed to many at the concert that they would all soon die. It could have been just talk, or it could have been connected to the attack.

Muir Analytics will continue to follow developments as they unfold.

Sources and further reading:

Marilou Danley: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know,” Heavy.com, 2 October 2017.

What happened in Las Vegas? Latest news and updates on the Mandalay Bay shooting,” Express, 2 October 2017.

Country music star Jake Owen describes Las Vegas shooting: ‘It was chaos’,” Today, 2 October 2017.

PICTURED: The lone Las Vegas gunman, 64, who murdered 58 and injured 515 concert-goers with an automatic rifle from his suite on 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay in America’s deadliest mass shooting – before committing suicide, Daily Mail, 2 October 2017.

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