Dr. Henry C. Lee weighs in on Las Vegas massacre, says killer was older than most mass shooters
WEST HAVEN — When it comes to mass shooters, there generally are a limited number of motives and many similarities from one to another — but Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was a little different in some ways, criminologist Henry C. Lee said Thursday.
To begin with, there was his age: 64.
That’s older than most mass shooters, said Lee, the now-retired former head of the Connecticut State Police Crime Lab. Lee is the founder of the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at University of New Haven and one of the world’s leading forensic scientists.
The case also is unusual because nearly two weeks after the shootings, we still don’t know Paddock’s motive, he said.
But in other ways, the Las Vegas shooter fits right in to the standard profile, said Lee, who investigated and/or and testified in such high-profile cases as the O.J. Simpson trial, the JonBenét Ramsey slaying and the “Woodchipper Murder Trial” of Richard Crafts, who killed his Danish-born wife, Helle Crafts, in Newtown in 1986.
“Most of the subjects are male” and “most are loaners” who feel that life has been unfair to them or their lives are falling apart, Lee said.
Lee spoke to local TV and print journalists at a press conference in the college’s entry hall. They were his first comments to date on the Oct. 1 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, which was the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the U.S. history.
The shooting during a Jason Aldean concert killed 58 people and injured about 500.
What’s clear is that “he planned it” and, in fact, appears to have planned the massacre for some time, Lee said.
“It takes a while to accumulate that much ammunition” and so many firearms, Lee said. He also pointed out that Paddock installed his own cameras in his room and the hallway outside his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in advance of the crime.
“That usually indicates it was pre-planned,” he said.
Asked whether he had been contacted to lend his expertise to the case, Lee said, “No. I’m retired,” and while the Dr. Henry C. Lee Institute at University of New Haven has a cold-case center, “we work on only a few cases” each year.
Lee suggested that one reason why the investigation is taking some time is because “the location is the casino,” and casinos have cameras “all over the place.”
About an hour after Paddock fired his final shot, police found him dead in his hotel room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Among the things that investigators no doubt are looking into are how his weapons were transferred, whether he had an accomplice, whether he had stayed at that casino hotel before and what information might be contained on his cell phone, include what his final messages might be, Lee said.