The gunman who opened fire on thousands of concertgoers in Las Vegas late Sunday night had booked two rooms in Chicago earlier this summer overlooking Grant Park during Lollapalooza, according to a report from TMZ.
The report states Stephen Paddock had booked two rooms at the Blackstone Hotel on Michigan Avenue, one for Aug. 1 – two days before the annual music festival began – and another for Aug. 3, which was opening day.
“The hotel directly overlooked the main stage as well as several adjoining stages,” the TMZ report states. “It also overlooks the main entrance and exit where thousands of people file through. And the hotel had a bird’s-eye view of the crowd.”
TMZ says Paddock never checked in to the rooms inside the 23-floor, 290-foot-tall hotel, but claims he had specifically requested “view rooms” facing Grant Park, where hundreds of thousands of people flocked over the four-day concert festival. The Mesquite, Nevada, man killed 59 people Sunday night and wounded more than 500 others at a country music concert, firing high-powered rifles from his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in what was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
“We are aware of the media reports and have been in communication with our federal partners,” Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in response Thursday morning. “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.”
NBC News also reported Thursday morning that Paddock had researched hotels near Fenway Park in Boston, but said there’s “no indication” he ever traveled there.
The Blackstone on Thursday said no one named Stephen Paddock stayed at the hotel in August during Lollapalooza, but said a reservation was booked using that name.
“We can confirm that a reservation was made under the name Stephen Paddock, however authorities have not confirmed that this is the same person as the Las Vegas shooter,” a hotel spokeswoman said in a statement. “We are cooperating with the authorities on this matter.”
A spokesmen from Lollapalooza did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday said the city has already run through six active shooter trainings this year – upping its focus on these situational trainings following the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
Those trainings have also expanded to include 33 area hospitals and the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, to go along with the Chicago Police and Fire departments.
“So there’s been preparation and work for a situation pre-Vegas – not with Vegas particularly in mind,” Emanuel told media Monday. “The city is prepared and doing its work.”
Speaking to Chicago Tonight on Thursday, Emanuel said the city will have a “bigger, larger, more physical (security) presence” at this weekend’s Chicago Marathon and the upcoming Chicago Cubs playoff games.
He also hopes Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state Legislature take up “common-sense gun legislation,” pointing specifically to the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.
“There is nothing on those pictures of that hotel room that reflects the Second Amendment,” Emanuel said, referring to the cache of weapons found in Paddock’s Mandalay Bay room. “Nothing.”
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