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Las Vegas shooter researched La Jolla, Santa Monica, San Diego before mass shooting

Las Vegas shooter researched La Jolla, Santa Monica, San Diego before mass shooting
Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock (Associated Press)

On May 18 — about four months before the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history unfolded on the Las Vegas Strip — gunman Stephen Paddock was thinking about San Diego.

On an HP laptop seized from one of his Mandalay Bay hotel rooms after the massacre, authorities found a web search from that Thursday in May for "La Jolla Beach," as well as evidence that he had visited sandiego.org, the region's tourism website.

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The findings were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on Friday as part of an exhaustive report on the shooting.

From his perch on the 32nd floor of the hotel, Paddock, a professional gambler, sprayed gunfire for more than 10 minutes down on concertgoers attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on Oct. 1. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 700 injured.

The search through Paddock's computers reveals queries into several areas around the country, although it is not clear whether he was considering those places as potential targets.

On the same day as the San Diego searches, he searched Google Maps for locales in Southern California, including hotels in Santa Monica and a Venice Beach gastropub, and places in Boston, including Fenway Park and Boston University Questrom School of Business.

The Google search for "La Jolla Beach" was made alongside queries for "biggest bear," "grant park functions," "open air concert venues," "biggest open air concert venues in USA," "summer concerts 2017" and "how crowded does Santa Monica Beach get."

Ticketmaster's website and the site for the Grant Park Music Festival — a summerlong classical music concert series in Chicago — were visited through Internet Explorer about a half-hour before sandiego.org was accessed at 5:05 a.m. that same day in May.

The search history grows more focused on Las Vegas in September as Paddock finalized his plans, the report shows.

Davis writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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