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Vegas gunman's vehicle may have been primed to explode

CBS News logo CBS News 2017-10-06
Police vehicles line Las Vegas Boulevard following the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 4, 2017. © Chris Wattie / REUTERS Police vehicles line Las Vegas Boulevard following the mass shooting in Las Vegas

The Las Vegas gunman's car may have been primed to explode in an escape, CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues reports.

Law enforcement sources say there were at least 1,000 rounds of ammunition in a suitcase and Tannerite in a duffle bag inside the vehicle. It was in a parking garage, and investigators are trying to figure out how integral it was to Stephen Paddock's plan. Tannerite, used in target shooting, explodes when hit by rifle fire. 

Paddock killed 58 people and injured more than 450 others after opening fire on concertgoers at a country music festival Sunday night.

Could he have been planning to shoot at it? Could he have used it as an explosive if fired upon by police while trying to escape? These are some of the questions investigators are considering as they try to determine a motive for the mass shooting, Pegues reports.

This undated photo shows Rocio Guillen, one of the people killed in Las Vegas after a gunman opened fire on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, at a country music festival. Photos: Remembering the Las Vegas shooting victims

(Courtesy of photo providers)

Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said in a news conference Friday that he doesn't know what Paddock was planning to do with the Tannerite.

"We found it in the condition that it was and it was not an [improvised explosive device]," he said.

Watch: Event organizers beef up security after Las Vegas shooting

Authorities have been gaming out potential scenarios, among them that Paddock wanted to escape and that he might have been able to blend in amid the chaos of the fire alarms going off and crowds of people moving through the hotel, but investigators suspect a security guard interrupted his plan.

A law enforcement source says this is "one of the most sinister things I have ever seen, and it could have been much worse."

Investigators say among the cache of dozens of weapons seized were variants of AK-47s and AR-15s. Sources say each of the rifles Paddock had cost $1,000 or more. A source says the cache was likely worth in excess of $50,000 and probably closer to $100,000.


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