Attention Turns To Motive As FBI Finishes Report On Strip Shooting
A team of 25 is finishing the FBI report on the Oct. 1 mass shooting on the Strip with a focus on ascertaining the gunman’s motive.
FBI Special Agent Aaron Rouse, who heads the bureau operations in Nevada, told State of Nevada the results will be the product of the work of 1,000 agents in 25 countries.
“I believe that at the end of this report, when they are finally able to publish this report, that we will have as close to an answer as to why without asking the subject as we can possibly have,” he said.
Gunman Stephen Paddock rained bullets on an open-air concert, killing 58 people before taking his own life. It was the worst mass shooting in modern American history.
While Rouse and the rest of team are still trying to nail down why Paddock pulled the trigger, there are some things about the shooting they are absolutely positive about.
Rouse said he is confident that Paddock was the only shooter that day and that he is dead.
"There is not a broader conspiracy revolving around this issue," he said, "Anybody can take one snippet of video or one snippet of audio or one line a statement that’s been made and it can easily be misinterpreted, or they could put more weight to it than it necessarily should have.”
But looking at the totality of the evidence, Rouse confident there is not another shooter, which is one of the more popular conspiracy theories swirling around the tragedy.
In fact, Rouse said he pays no attention to those conspiracies and he feels sorry for the people who do believe them because they don't have the information or expertise.
Rouse said lessons learned in the investigation are being used to improve security at outdoor events nationwide, and that he has briefed law enforcement and security officials on ways to better assess risks at open-air venues.
“It’s about having that exterior facing view where somebody’s looking out to see, is somebody out to do something? Looking for that out of the ordinary item and then responding to it quickly,” he said.
Rouse said some of the recommendations were incorporated at series of outdoor concerts this summer in Atlantic City.
“For a horrible tragedy that this was, there were a lot of positive takeaways from this,” he said.
The report on the incident is expected to be released after the anniversary of the attack and before the end of the year, he said.
OTHER DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS
Rouse couldn't comment on specifics surrounding the case of former Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow. Barlow was recently sentenced after pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds.
Although he couldn't comment directly, Rouse said the case demonstrated what law enforcement relies on a lot: people coming forward with information when something strikes them as being wrong.
“The public is a crucial partner in all of the FBI investigations that go forth,” he said.
Rouse was able to talk about the agency's efforts to combat the opioid crisis.
He said the FBI in Nevada has a task force that is part of a nationwide effort to help people who are trapped in addiction and those are using that addiction to their advantage, specifically doctors who are not "being faithful to their Hippocratic Oath"
“We’ve been able to systematically start working on the worst of the worst,” he said.
Rouse also said that the FBI is hiring. As people who have been with the agency for a long time start to retire, they're looking to fill positions. He said they're not just looking for special agents but all kinds of jobs.
Check out fbijobs.gov to see what's available and the application process.
The FBI has come under heavy scrutiny on the national level as President Donald Trump and his supporters level criticism at former director James Comey and some agents connected to the special counsel investigation of Russian interference into the 2016 election.
Rouse said he and his agents stay above the fray and stick to their jobs.
“The people in the FBI -throughout the FBI – focus on the mission of the FBI, which is to protect the American people and uphold the constitution. We don’t involve ourselves in the noise of the day because you don’t pay us to do that. You pay us to be very good at our jobs.”
Special Agent Aaron Rouse, heads FBI in Nevada