Girlfriend of Las Vegas gunman lands in US to face questions

The alleged girlfriend of the dead gunman who killed scores of people in a weekend concert in Las Vegas has arrived back in the United States for questioning, local media reported Wednesday.

Marilou Danley, 62, who lived with Stephen Paddock, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from the Philippines late Tuesday, according to NBC News.

Footage shown by the broadcaster appeared to show Danley being pushed through the airport by police in a wheelchair.

Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said during a press conference earlier in the day that Danley is considered a “person of interest,” after authorities said Monday she was not involved in the shooting.

Danley has not been charged with any crime, the New York Times reported, and it is not clear how much she knew of Paddock’s plans to commit the mass shooting at an open-air music festival near the Las Vegas strip.

Also on Tuesday, officials with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said they have now retrieved a total of 47 guns belonging to the gunman.

“47 firearms have been recovered from 3 different locations,” said ATF’s Jill Snyder during a press conference in Las Vegas. One location was the shooter’s home in Mesquite, about 140 kilometres from Las Vegas. She said that all the weapons had been traced.

She also confirmed that 12 of the guns found in Stephen Paddock’s hotel room had so-called bump fire stocks that allowed them to be fired like automatic weapons.

Officials said earlier they were trying to determine whether Paddock bought semi-automatic weapons and modified them.

So far, investigators are remaining tight-lipped about what they know about the shooter’s motives. “We have a responsibility and we want to get it right,” Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said during the press conference.

McMahill did provide further details about the shooting however, saying that officials got the first call about the incident Sunday night at 10:08 pm (0508 GMT Monday) and the gunfire ended at 10:19 pm.

Paddock has been described in US media reports as a high-stakes gambler, who has no known criminal record, no mental illness and no affiliation with any terrorist or other extremist group.

The 64-year-old killed himself as officers stormed his room, police say.

All 58 victims who died in Sunday’s shooting have been tentatively identified, said McMahill. He clarified that there were 58 victims and the shooter. The shooting, which also left over 500 injured, occurred just as the music festival came to a close.

Officials found two cameras outside the shooter’s hotel room in the hallway and one in the door’s peep hole. The shooter installed them to see whether police were approaching his room, said McMahill.

While investigations continue in Las Vegas, the debate over US firearms regulations roared back to the centre of US politics in Washington.

“We’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by,” President Donald Trump told reporters.

Senator Chuck Schumer took up the topic in a speech on the Senate floor, calling for “common-sense reforms” that the overwhelming majority of Americans support.

The Senate’s top Democrat said Congress had been gridlocked on the issue of gun control, and called on Trump to lead the effort to pass rational laws about gun safety.

But the chances of that seem unlikely. The president is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution allowing people to keep and bear arms, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Monday.

As a candidate in last year’s presidential election Trump won the support of the National Rifle Association, which has not commented since the massacre.

The organisation, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, was successful in preventing the passage of stricter gun control legislation four years ago after 20 schoolchildren and six faculty members were shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

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