A terrorist gunman opened fire on a crowd of 20,000 concertgoers this past Sunday night in Las Vegas, killing 59 and injuring over 500 more. While police continue to investigate his motives and discern a reason behind the attack, speculation stirred that he had booked a condo in Las Vegas a week prior for the Life Is Beautiful festival, and could have been targeting that event, as well.
Now, new evidence uncovered by TMZ and confirmed by law enforcement to USA Today suggests that the shooter also booked multiple rooms in Chicago during Lollapalooza, at a hotel overlooking Grant Park.
TMZ acquired a screenshot of a booking confirmation for Stephen Paddock at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, located across the street from the venue, Grant Park. The two rooms were booked on separate dates: first a room booked for August 1, 2 days before the festival started; the second room was booked for August 3. Both rooms had an August 6 checkout, the last day of the festival.
“We are aware of the media reports and have been in communication with our federal partners,” the Chicago Police Department said in a statement. “As you saw earlier this week the city conducts extensive public safety planning and training around major events, in close coordination with our law enforcement partners, to ensure public safety.”
TMZ was told that Paddock “specifically requested both rooms be a ‘view room’ which only face Grant Park, where the concert was being held. […] It’s difficult if not impossible to flee because of Lake Michigan” on the other side of the venue.
Paddock’s hotel also overlooks the main entrance and exit for the festival.
TMZ’s sources say that Paddock never showed up for his reservation.
The amount of festivals held near high-rise hotels and office buildings is not exclusive to Las Vegas and Chicago, and includes multiple festivals nationwide. With the high profile shooting this past weekend, hotels and buildings are no doubt going to increase security in those areas by an immeasurable amount, or otherwise look for new venues entirely. However, that will only be addressing a symptom of the overall issue at hand.