PNN – A domestic terror attack in Las Vegas, Nevada has left more than 500 people injured and at least 58 killed. The attacker has been identified as 64 year old professional gambler Stephen Paddock. Paddock carried out the shooting from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Sunday night. His target was the Route 91 Harvest country music festival happening below. Paddock, who has no history of criminal behavior, took his own life after the attack. His motives remain unclear and thus far investigators have not found a manifesto or memoir to shed light upon the situation. Paddock has no known political ties, nor does it appear that he was involved in any form of extremism, religious or otherwise. Paddock was relatively new to the area, having moved to the nearby town of Mesquite in 2015.

Following the attack, several groups have already attempted to take credit, though Sheriff Joseph Lombardo has referred to the Paddock as a “lone wolf.” ISIS has claimed, via their Aamaq propaganda outlet, that Paddock was acting on their behalf as a soldier, and that he had converted to Islam several months prior. No evidence has been offered to support these claims, and authorities have been dismissive of the idea so far. It would not be the first time that ISIS has falsely claimed an attack, as was the case with a similar attack on a casino in the Philippines earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the Facebook page Melbourne Antifa made a post, which has since been deleted but remains available as an archive, claiming responsibility for the shooting. Several legacy media outlets have incorrectly reported said post as a hoax, claiming that no such post was ever made, but the existence of the archive, as well as the vast variety of screenshots from varying points in time, with varying comments, from various devices, and with varying Facebook reaction levels, point towards the post being real. All the same, while Melbourne Antifa did make the post, there seems to be no evidence that Paddock is actually associated with the group, or that he was sympathetic to any political group at all. It is also necessary to understand that, while Antifa is an extremist group, they are not a formal organization and, therefore, it cannot be said that any one particular page or person represents a collective decision to take credit for an attack like this.

It may be some time before investigators determine why Stephen Paddock was possessed to carry out an attack on several hundred strangers. In the meanwhile, much of what is being said about why he acted in this way is speculation, and it should be treated as such. There are also those who are claiming that this is the largest domestic terror attack in US history, but that is not true. Larger attacks, such as the Oklahoma City Bombing, have been carried out in the past. However, it may be the largest domestic shooting in contemporary US history. While any terror attack is a tragedy, we must be cautious while discussing these matters, as it helps no one to spread inaccurate information.

Banner photo via Marilou Danley’s Facebook page. Pictured:  Stephen Paddock.