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Chicago police: Las Vegas gunman booked hotel rooms overlooking Lollapalooza

The exterior of the Blackstone Chicago Hotel, located 636 South Michigan Avenue, Thursday, October 5, 2017. It was reported by TMZ that Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, booked rooms at the hotel during the weekend of Lollapalooza, but cancelled them before the 2017 concert event at Grant Park. (Alyssa Pointer/ Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Stephen Paddock, the gunman who fatally shot 58 people and wounded nearly 500 in Las Vegas Sunday night, rented two rooms in August at Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park, according to a law enforcement source.

Paddock reserved the rooms on the park side of the hotel with a clear view of the outdoor festival, but he never showed up, according to the source, who asked for anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to publicly disclose the details.

The dates of the reservations covered the four-day event, which drew hundreds of thousands of music fans, including former President Barack Obama’s daughters Malia and Sasha, as well as Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Two months later, Paddock reserved rooms in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and, from the 32nd floor, fired hundreds of rounds at a crowd attending a country music festival.

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive for the Las Vegas shooting and Paddock’s whereabouts the last few months.

The Boston Globe, quoting anonymous sources, said Paddock may have scouted Fenway Park and other Boston venues before settling on Vegas.

Las Vegas police say Paddock rented hotel rooms near a concert featuring Chance the Rapper in Las Vegas about a week before the mass shooting, which occurred farther down the strip.

Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters Wednesday that Paddock rented several rooms through Airbnb at The Ogden hotel in downtown Las Vegas. The dates he was there corresponded with the “Life is Beautiful” music festival, which was held Sept. 22-24.

“This is all pre-conjecture,” said Lombardo, who added that investigators have recovered items and video from the hotel which overlooked the concert, which also featured Muse, Lorde and Blink-182.

“Was he doing pre-surveillance?” said Lombardo. “We don’t know yet.”

Lollapalooza has a daily draw of more than 100,000 over four days every summer. It arrived in Grant Park in 2005 when it was retooled as a destination festival by co-founders Perry Farrell and the William Morris Agency with new partners, Texas–based Capital Sports Entertainment (now C3 Presents).

It was staged for two days and drew more than 65,000 people. It expanded to three days in 2006 and four days in 2016. In recent years it has consistently sold out its 100,000-a-day capacity in advance.

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© 2017 Chicago Tribune

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