Police officers running to cover at the scene of the shooting near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday night. John Locher/AP
- Stephen Craig Paddock, the man police have identified as the Las Vegas gunman, was a quiet man with no criminal record or reports of erratic behavior before the shooting.
- He was found dead in his hotel room after the shooting.
- He checked into a hotel room with his girlfriend’s identification, police said, but she was found outside of the country and is not suspected to have played a role in the attack.
- Authorities discovered 10 rifles in Paddock’s hotel room when they entered.
- Paddock’s brother, Eric, said he was “not an avid gun guy at all” and has no military background.
- The shooter’s late father, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list from 1969-1977 and was a diagnosed psychopath.
The Las Vegas police on Monday identified Stephen Craig Paddock as the man who opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino with what appeared to be at least one automatic rifle, killing more than 50 and injuring at least 515 others to local hospitals in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
The 64-year-old from Mesquite, Nevada, targeted concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival at about 10 p.m. PDT on Sunday, police said. They said Paddock had checked into his hotel room Thursday.
Video and pictures from the festival captured the chaos and increasing panic as extended bursts of rifle fire rang out.
Eric Paddock, the shooter’s brother, told CBS News that Stephen was “not an avid gun guy at all.”
“The fact that he had those kind of weapons is … just … where the hell did he get automatic weapons? He has no military background or anything like that,” Eric Paddock said. “He’s a guy who lived in a house in Mesquite and drove down and gambled in Las Vegas.”
CNN runs a picture of Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter. CNN
Paddock was retired and had no criminal record before the attack, Reuters reports. He used to work as an accountant, and his brother described him to CNN as “a wealthy guy playing video poker … on cruises.”
A Washington Post report characterized Paddock as a quiet man who occasionally came to Las Vegas to gamble or catch concerts, was a former resident of Texas, and held a hunting license in Alaska.
Paddock was divorced, according to CNN, and his ex-wife resides in Los Angeles. The two divorced 27 years ago after a six-year marriage and have not been in contact in years, the report said.
Paddock had been checked into in his Mandalay Bay hotel room on with his girlfriend’s identification for three days before the attack. Police initially identified her as a person of interest but have said she is not a suspect in the attack.
Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, the shooter’s father, was a well-known bank robber and on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list from 1969 to 1977, CNN reported.
Benjamin Hoskins Paddock was a diagnosed psychopath, according to the FBI, and he was convicted of “bank robbery, automobile larceny, and confidence game.”
Eric Paddock said he died several years ago.
The bureau’s poster on the elder Paddock cautioned that he had committed armed robberies before, had “suicidal tendencies,” and “should be considered armed and very dangerous.”
His son, Stephen, had at least 10 rifles in the hotel room on the Mandalay Bay’s 32nd floor, where he had been staying since September 28, said Joseph Lombardo, the sheriff of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Paddock owned two aircraft and held a pilot’s license, according to the “Today” show. Paddock had worked for a predecessor company of Lockheed Martin, the giant defense contractor that builds planes.
Paddock lived in the suburbs around Mesquite, Nevada, which sits near the border with Arizona about an hour and a half from where the shooting took place, the police said. Authorities searched his home on Monday and recovered weapons and ammunition. Paddock had purchased several firearms from California in the past, but none of them were among the weapons found in his hotel room after the shooting, CNN reported.
Ana Pelisson/Business Insider/Google Earth
“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo told reporters. In a subsequent press conference, Lombardo said “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point.”
The Daily Mail quoted Paddock’s brother Eric as saying he and his mother were “in shock” and “dumbfounded” after finding out about the shooting. According to the Daily Mail, Eric Paddock described his brother as a normal guy who must have “snapped.”
Las Vegas police run by a banner on the fence at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival grounds after a active shooter was reported on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. David Becker/Getty Images
A timeline of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock’s activities began to unfold nearly 24 hours after he shot at a crowd of concertgoers late Sunday night.
Law-enforcement officials said during a Monday afternoon press conference that Paddock, who had checked into a large, two-room suite at the Mandalay Bay on Thursday, September 28, got to work soon after.
Paddock brought “in excess of 10” suitcases to the hotel, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.
It was not immediately clear when Paddock began bringing those suitcases in, and his activity apparently went unnoticed. One reporter at the Monday afternoon briefing asked Lombardo from off-camera: “No one thought the wiser?”
“I wish that would’ve happened, ma’am. I absolutely wish that would’ve happened,” Lombardo said.
An old photograph of gunman Stephen Paddock, pictured next to his brother Eric, which the family provided to the media. AP
Paddock had 23 firearms in his 32nd-floor hotel suite, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition. He broke two of the windows in the room, from which he fired shots at the more than 20,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest country music festival across the street. The first shots were reported at 10:08 p.m. PDT.
Law-enforcement officials responding to the Mandalay Bay went to the 29th floor of the hotel, Lombardo said, believing the gunfire was coming from somewhere between the 29th and 32nd floor. “We had to evaluate each floor moving up.” Lombardo said complaints from customers and information from security led them to the suspect’s room.Two broken windows near the top of the Mandalay Bay Casino, from which a gunman killed at least 50 people with an automatic weapon.AP/Business Insider
“They checked each floor until they located what they believed to be the room,” Lombardo said. A SWAT team broke down the door, at which point Paddock “shot through the doorway striking a security guard,” Lombardo said. The guard suffered a leg wound. Paddock died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
All told, at least 59 people were killed, 527 others were injured.
Investigators were evaluating multiple crime scenes, including the concert site, Paddock’s hotel suite, his home in Mesquite, Nevada, and another home in Reno.
From his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Stephen Paddock would have looked down upon a crowd of more than 20,000 people, surging to the final sets of a country music festival.
But what may have seemed like a difficult feat, firing across an urban area and into a crowd from about 500 yards away — the equivalent of several football fields — appears to have been offset by Mr. Paddock’s preparations, which made it possible for him to inflict mass carnage.
Law enforcement officials cautioned that their information remained preliminary amid a rapidly unfolding investigation, and it was at times contradictory. But officials said Mr. Paddock established firing positions by smashing a pair of windows in his hotel room. He was armed with at least 23 firearms, the authorities said, including rifles designed to be fired at such distances. He was also perched from a vantage point that increased the likelihood that even errant shots were more likely to strike someone than had he fired them from ground level.
Among his weapons, a law enforcement official said, were AR-15-style rifles, a civilian variant of a standard service rifle used by the American military for more than a half-century.
The possibility that Mr. Paddock used tripods, which two law enforcement officials said were in the room, indicates that he understood how to overcome some of the difficulties of his plan. Special mounts designed to fit the underside of a rifle and sit atop camera tripods allow the gunman to fire more accurately while standing. Military snipers use tripods in urban spaces, often setting themselves back from a window so neither they nor their weapons can be seen from the streets below.
These preparations, along with the downward angle of Mr. Paddock’s gunfire and the density of concertgoers, would make the shooting more lethal than it might otherwise have been, and more difficult to counter or escape.
Analysis of video posted on social media shows that the gunman used rifles with rapid-fire capabilities.
OPEN Interactive Graphic
When the gunshots started, videos showed, those in front of the stage dropped to their stomachs — often an adequate first measure when under fire. But on Sunday night, the decision potentially put them at greater risk.
Mr. Paddock’s position overhead gave him a vantage point over objects and obstacles that would typically protect people from bullets flying from a gunman at ground level. It also meant that inaccurate shots — the sort common to rapid or hurried fire, which typically sail high or strike the ground short — could still plunge into areas where people were huddled.
Audio recordings of the shooting suggest that at least one of Mr. Paddock’s weapons fired automatically, discharging multiple bullets with a single depression of a trigger, in what are commonly called bursts.
Weapons capable of burst fire have long been federally regulated in the United States and are more difficult to obtain than weapons that fire semiautomatically, for which regulations vary by state.
It was not clear on Monday evening whether Mr. Paddock possessed such weapons, or used semiautomatic weapons that had been altered. In some videos of the shooting, the rate of fire sounds inconsistent, at times sputtering.
This suggests the possibility that a weapon could have been modified to fire more quickly, a change to semiautomatic firearms known as bump or slide fire. Such modifications harness the recoil to allow for rapid fire.
Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of Clark County, Nev., said that at least 16 rifles, ranging from .308 to .223 caliber, and a handgun were retrieved from Mr. Paddock’s hotel room. A federal law enforcement official said that AR-15-style rifles were among them. The authorities did not detail all of the guns, or which weapons Mr. Paddock fired.
Mr. Paddock had purchased some guns in Arizona, according to a gun seller there who spoke with the authorities.
The attack was one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.
Several pounds of a nonflammable exploding target used for practice were recovered from Mr. Paddock’s home in Mesquite, about an hour outside Las Vegas, Sheriff Lombardo said. Ammonium nitrate was found in Mr. Paddock’s car in Las Vegas, the sheriff said, but he did not say how much was recovered.
Determining which weapons were used will fall to investigators reviewing the crime scenes, including the hotel room, which would be littered with spent cartridge cases.
The duration of the bursts, as recorded, suggest that Mr. Paddock cared little about the military’s prescriptions for automatic fire. Sustained rapid fire is difficult to control and causes many weapons, especially light weapons, to overheat quickly.
Maj. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the military had no record of Mr. Paddock serving in any of the uniformed services.
The length of the bursts also indicate that Mr. Paddock had magazines capable of holding scores of rounds, allowing him to fire longer without reloading.
Nevada, unlike some states, has no laws limiting ammunition magazine capacities.
The remaining limited details about how Mr. Paddock organized for the crime raise more questions. Two law enforcement officials said he used a hammer to break the windows through which he fired, and Sheriff Lombardo said he possessed scopes for at least some of his weapons, though it was not clear what roles they played.
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Before he opened fire late Sunday, killing at least 58 people at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, gunman Stephen Paddock was living out his retirement as a high-stakes gambler in a quiet town outside Las Vegas.
Paddock, 64, would disappear for days at a time, frequenting casinos with his longtime girlfriend, neighbors said. Relatives also said Paddock had frequently visited Las Vegas to gamble and take in concerts.
Eric Paddock said his brother often gambled in tens of thousands of dollars. “My brother is not like you and me. He plays high-stakes video poker,” he said. “He sends me a text that says he won $250,000 at the casino.”
Eric Paddock said he showed the FBI three years of text messages from his brother and said he had no information whether Stephen Paddock had gambling debts or was financially troubled. “I have absolutely no information he lost a bunch of money. The casino would know that,” he said.
Eric Paddock said his brother previously worked as an accountant but also had real estate investments, including houses and apartments around Orlando. He said Stephen Paddock had no kids and plenty of money to play with.
Eric Paddock said he did not know of any mental illness, alcohol or drug problems in his brother’s life.
Their father was once on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. He was a fugitive bank robber and rarely around for either son. “I was born on the run,” said Eric Paddock.
He knew his brother owned a couple of handguns but was shocked at the rapid-fire weapon apparently used by Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas. He said his brother didn’t hunt, barely shot his guns and once took Eric Paddock’s children on a skeet-shooting trip paid for by the casinos.
Eric Paddock spoke in his driveway as he was getting in his car to go with FBI agents to interview his mother, who is in her 90s and who appears to have been the last family member to communicate with Stephen Paddock, about two weeks ago. Eric Paddock said his brother last texted him five days after Hurricane Irma hit Orlando to check if anyone in the family had been affected. “He texted and said, ‘How’s Mom?’,” Eric Paddock said.
He said their mother was bewildered, like he was, why Stephen Paddock had shot and killed so many on Sunday.
Who was Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock?
Stephen Paddock was identified by police as the gunman in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Here’s what you need to know about him. Here’s what you need to know about the gunman. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)
“We know nothing. If you told me an asteroid fell it would mean the same to me. There’s absolutely no sense, no reason he did this,” he said, earlier. “He’s just a guy who played video poker and took cruises and ate burritos at Taco Bell. There’s no political affiliation that we know of. There’s no religious affiliation that we know of.”
For several years, the gunman lived with his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, in a retirement community in Reno, Nev., neighbors said. They said they interacted with Danley but not with Paddock, whom they described as extremely standoffish. Danley told residents there that Paddock was a professional gambler, explaining their long absences from the neighborhood.
Called Del Webb, the neighborhood is a relatively new active-adult community of single-family homes with desert views and a clubhouse with a gym and pool.
Harold Allred, who lives up the street from the couple, said his wife often ran into Danley in exercise classes or social gatherings. Allred said he and his wife found Danley unremarkable, though perhaps a little odd, and didn’t know Paddock. “He was reclusive,” said Allred, 66. “We never met him.”
Paddock lived in a number of retirement communities. In addition to the Reno home, Paddock and Danley had another home in Mesquite, Nev., said neighbors. In recent years, he had moved to Nevada from Melbourne, Fla. And he had previously lived in Texas and California, where he had married once and later divorced.
In Reno, Diane McKay lived next door to Paddock and Danley until July, when McKay moved to a different community, but she said she only ran into Danley occasionally when both women happened to be pulling weeds from their front yards. Danley wasn’t forthcoming about her life, and Paddock was aggressively unfriendly, McKay recalled. She only saw him in the mornings, when he went to the clubhouse to work out. Occasionally, he would open the garage door, revealing a large safe the size of a refrigerator. Other than that, the couple kept their blinds closed.
“He was weird. Kept to himself,” said McKay, 79, who described Paddock as small but in pretty good shape. “It was like living next to nothing. . . . You can at least be grumpy, something. He was just nothing, quiet. He never went out in the back and enjoyed the back yard, nature. They had a little back yard, 17 feet to the fence and hill. But the blinds were always closed.”
McKay said the couple was gone for six months last year, which she thought was for a gambling trip.
Paddock’s family said there was nothing in his past that would suggest violence. Family members said that Paddock spent much of his retirement in recent years frequenting hotels in Las Vegas. They said he listened to country music and went to concerts at Vegas hotels, similar to the one Sunday night where he opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers.
Public records show Paddock was a licensed pilot who owned two planes. And he had a hunting license from Alaska.
Property records show he had homes in both Mesquite, Tex., and Mesquite in Nevada. He bought his current home in Mesquite, Nev., in 2013, and appears to have been living there ever since.
Las Vegas police said authorities searched Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nev., on Monday morning. Quinn Averett, a spokesman for the Mesquite Police Department, said Paddock was unknown to local authorities in the city 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Mesquite police have no recorded interactions with Paddock. Las Vegas police said the same.
Neighbors at his home in Mesquite, Nev., said Paddock did not seem agitated or disturbed in recent days. “I saw Paddock on the golf course about two months ago,” said Luis Rodriguez, a groundskeeper at Conestoga Golf Course, which runs right through the retirement community where Paddock lived. “There was nothing strange about him. He seemed friendly and happy at the time.”
Rodriguez and other groundskeepers were shocked when they woke up to the news and realized they had seen Paddock. They say he played alone and that he would stop and say hello to them on the course.
At a 55-and-over community in Florida, where Paddock had lived for many years, neighbors recalled strange details about his lifestyle.
Don Judy, his next-door neighbor until two years ago, recalled that shortly after Paddock turned 60, Judy saw the inside of his home and was shocked by its appearance. He said it “looked like a college freshman lived there.”
There was no art on the walls, not even a car in the driveway, Judy said, just a dining chair, a bed and two recliners. “It looked like he’d be ready to move at a moment’s notice,” Judy said.
Paddock, however, always seemed on the move, carrying a suitcase and driving a rental car on monthly trips from Vegas to the community near Cocoa Beach.
“One of the first times we met him, he told me he lived there, in Vegas,” said Judy. “He explained that he was a gambler, and a prospector. He said he was buying this house to check it out for his mother . . . and that if she liked it, he planned to buy another next door with a floor plan like ours.”
Paddock’s brother, mother and other family members lived about an hour away in Orlando and would frequently visit, Judy said.
During the two years that Judy lived next door, Paddock never seemed to want for money. A new ShopVac, tools and a never-used ladder appeared in the garage. Paddock and Danley would wave as they left for dinner along the beach.
A little while after living there, Paddock left Judy a key and asked him to keep an eye on the rarely used house — and to borrow any tools he might want. “I thought, wow, this guy’s a good neighbor,” Judy said, who noted no drugs or parties, nothing unusual except for Paddock’s gambling. “They did seem to always stay up till midnight and sleep in till noon. They always seemed to stay on Vegas time.”
‘The shots just kept coming’: Mass shooting unfolds at country music festival
A gunman in a high-rise hotel overlooking the Las Vegas Strip opened fire on a country music festival Oct. 1, in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. A gunman in a high-rise hotel overlooking the Las Vegas Strip opened fire on a country music festival Oct. 1, in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. (Taylor Turner/The Washington Post)
Computers also began appearing on the breakfast bar, and Paddock once boasted to Don and his wife that he’d won $20,000 playing card games over the Internet.
Then, as quickly as he had appeared, Paddock put up a for-sale sign, Judy said. “He never said much about it, just said they were moving back to Vegas,” Judy said.
Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said, “We have no investigative information or background associated with this individual that is derogatory. . . . The only thing we can tell is he received a citation several years ago, that citation was handled as a matter of normal practice in the court system.”
Authorities said no connection has been found between the gunman and any international terrorist group.
After the shooting, Paddock was found dead by officers on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Lombardo said during a news briefing.
Police believe Paddock was a “lone wolf” attacker. Lombardo did not give further details, however, on Paddock’s background or possible motivation.
“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said. “Right now, we believe he was the sole aggressor.”
Paddock, who arrived at the hotel on Thursday, was found with more than 10 rifles, Lombardo said. Relatives said they knew Paddock owned guns but believed they were legal.
On Monday morning, police released a picture of Danley, saying they were searching for her as a person of interest. They later said they she was out of the country, and has been located and detained. Authorities called her a companion of Paddock.
Authorities described Danley as Asian, 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 111 pounds.
In a statement, Lockheed Martin, the defense giant, said that Paddock had worked for it for three years in the 1980s.
“Stephen Paddock worked for a predecessor company of Lockheed Martin from 1985 until 1988,” the company said in a statement. “We’re cooperating with authorities to answer questions they may have about Mr. Paddock and his time with the company.”
The shooting on Sunday was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, killing at least 58 people and injuring hundreds.
Julie Tate and Mark Berman in Washington; Heather Long in Mesquite, Nev.; and Justin Glawe in Dallas contributed to this report.
KMSP-TV–40 minutes ago
The Daily Herald–1 hour ago
Duluth News Tribune–3 hours ago
<a href=”http://Patch.com” rel=”nofollow”>Patch.com</a>–6 hours ago
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The man police say killed at least 58 people on the Las Vegas Strip was a retired accountant who enjoyed playing $100-a-hand poker, his brother says.
Here’s what else we know about Stephen Paddock, the assailant in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
• He was 64 years old and lived in Mesquite, a retiree community about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. He had previously lived in the Orlando, Florida, area.
• He was divorced, was not known to have children, and was living with a woman in a home in Mesquite.
• He’d never shown violent tendencies, said his brother, Eric Paddock of Orlando, Florida. “He was my brother and it’s like an asteroid fell out of the sky,” Eric Paddock said about learning his sibling was the gunman in the Las Vegas massacre.
• His father was a bank robber who spent years on the FBI’s most-wanted list, said brother Eric Paddock. The FBI lists the late Benjamin Hoskins Paddock as being on the FBI’s most-wanted list from June 10, 1969 until May 5, 1977.
• Eric Paddock said his father died a few years ago and that “he was never with my mom.” Eric said he was born while his father was on the run.
• Stephen last communicated with his brother via a text, asking Eric about their mother, who’d lost power during Hurricane Irma. Eric also said Stephen spoke to his mother on the phone a week or two ago.
• Eric Paddock says his brother did not have affiliations with any terror or hate group, and he doesn’t know why his brother would do this.
• “He was a wealthy guy playing video poker… on cruises,” his brother said, adding that Stephen could afford anything he wanted and played $100-a-hand poker.
• Stephen Paddock’s ex-wife lives in Los Angeles County, California, and has had no contact with him in years, authorities said. They divorced 27 years ago after six years of marriage.
• Authorities searched Paddock’s home in Mesquite on Monday and found weapons and ammunition, but Mesquite police spokesman Quinn Averett did not give details. Eric Paddock said he helped Stephen move to Mesquite about a year ago.
• Marilou Danley was identified as Paddock’s companion or roommate, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.
• She does not appear to have been involved in the shooting and was in the Philippines when the massacre took place, authorities said. Paddock had been using some of her identification, Lombardo said.
• He kept a low profile. Law enforcement has no “derogatory information” about Stephen Paddock, besides the fact that he received a citation several years ago that was handled in the court system, Lombardo said.
• Paddock had been staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas since last Thursday. He killed himself in his room on the 32nd-floor before a police SWAT team burst in, Lombardo said.
• Authorities believe Paddock had a device similar to a hammer to smash the hotel windows prior to the shooting, Lombardo said. Officials think Paddock brought the weapons into the hotel by himself but did not provide specifics.
• Hotel employees had been in his room prior to the shooting but did not notice anything amiss, Lombardo said.
• Paddock had bought multiple firearms in the past, several of them purchased in California, a law enforcement official told CNN. But those don’t appear to be among the 10 or more guns found in the Mandalay Bay hotel room.
• The suspicion, based on initial reports, is that one of the rifles used was altered to function as an automatic weapon, the official said. Among the weapons found were a .223 caliber and a .308 caliber.
• So far investigators believe the firearms were purchased legally.
• Eric Paddock said he knew his brother had a couple of handguns and maybe one long rifle but did not know of any automatic weapons.
• Stephen Paddock did not have a machine gun when he moved him from Melbourne to Mesquite, Eric Paddock said.
• The suspect had a pilot’s license but he was not up to date on his medical certification which he would need in order to fly legally, a federal official said.
• The FAA website shows that the last time he went to get the medical certification required for private pilots who want to fly was February 2008 so he could not have flown legally recently.
• The FAA will not release any information regarding his mental health from his last certification in 2008 because it is protected under federal privacy rules.
• So far, authorities have found no military records for Stephen Paddock.
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By the time local authorities revealed Monday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas had left over 50 people dead, it was almost immediately labeled as the largest massacre in modern American history — but the heinous attack prompted others to question: Was it domestic terrorism?
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said it was “premature” to judge that question Monday afternoon, pointing to the ongoing investigation.
“This is an ongoing investigation, and it would be premature to weigh in on something like that before we have any more facts and we’ll leave that to local law enforcement to work with, also the federal law enforcement to make those determinations,” Sanders said.
Law enforcement authorities similarly declined to use the term “domestic terrorism.”
“We have to establish what his motivation was first,” said Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo.
Yet others, such as a former astronaut and gun-control advocate Mark Kelly, were unequivocal.
“This was an ambush if there ever was one,” said Kelly. “This was domestic terrorism.”
But here’s the problem: There is no such charge under federal law.
The confusion appears to stem, at least partly, from the fact that the US code does include a statutory definition of “domestic terrorism” — as acts “dangerous to human life and appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population” or to influence government policy or conduct — but it is not a standalone criminal charge.
“There is not a domestic terrorism crime as such,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a Senate hearing just last week. “We in the FBI refer to domestic terrorism as a category but it’s more of a way in which we allocate which agents, which squad is going to work on it.”
CNN Legal Analyst Page Pate says that Congress bears some of the responsibility for the colloquial use of the term.
“The problem is that Congress defined domestic terrorism in the criminal code, but there are no criminal penalties,” Pate said in an interview with CNN Monday.
The practical effect in many cases results in assailants instead being charged with other crimes, such as using a weapon of mass destruction in the case of 1995 Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
But the lack of a formal charge of domestic terrorism hasn’t stopped some lawmakers, legal experts and others from questioning whether labels still matter.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate homeland security committee, asked Wray last week if the FBI takes the threat of ISIS-related terrorism cases “any less seriously” than those committed by white supremacists or if he’s noticed any difference in charging decisions.
“No, we do not,” Wray said. “There may be reasons why it’s simpler, easier, quicker, less resource-intensive and you can still get a long sentence with some of the other offenses. … And so, even though you may not see them, from your end, as a domestic terrorism charge, they are very much domestic terrorism cases that are just being brought under other criminal offenses.”
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The last group of Russian diplomats have left the mansion of Russia’s Consulate-General in San Francisco ahead of the deadline which expired midnight on October 1. The two remaining families residing at the main Consulate building departed Friday and Saturday. The Russian Consulate in San Francisco, as well as two buildings in Washington and New York, were forced to shut operations on September 2 on orders from US State Department. The evictions, which Russia say violates international law, were supervised by US federal agents who took control of the properties. The diplomats who resided in the main San Francisco Consulate building and the Consulate General’s mansion were allowed to temporarily stay in their apartments, which they could access passing federal security checkpoints, but were ordered to vacate their quarters by October 1.
Opinion–The Moscow Times–Sep 3, 2017
Xinhua–1 hour ago