Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock booked hotel rooms overlooking Chicago’s Grant Park on days corresponding with the annual Lollapalooza music festival, officials confirmed Thursday.
According to a report on Thursday by celebrity news site TMZ, which broke the story, Paddock made two separate room bookings at the Blackstone Hotel on South Michigan Avenue, requesting a “view room” in each case. The Blackstone is directly across the street from the section of Grant Park that plays host to the long-running summer music festival that attracted an estimated 400,000 concert-goers this year. A high room at the hotel would have afforded sweeping lines of sight on several of the festival’s many stages.
Law enforcement officials confirmed the report, according to the Associated Press, after Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Wednesday that Paddock had also rented a high-rise apartment above another Las Vegas music festival last week.
The Chicago Tribune later reported that the Chicago Police Department is investigating the matter.
The first booking ran from August 1 to 6, with another room added from August 3 to 6, the exact dates of Lollapalooza, when hundreds of thousands were in and around Grant Park to see Muse, the Arcade Fire, and dozens of other musical acts. A source told TMZ that Paddock never arrived for either booking.
The fact that Paddock apparently booked two rooms is particularly notable in light of law enforcement speculation that the killer may have had accomplices in the execution of his murderous rampage that left at least 58 country music fans dead in Las Vegas after he opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival two months after Lollapalooza.
Lollapalooza has, for more than a decade, been a centerpiece of summer festivities in the Windy City. Each summer, Grant Park transforms into a writhing mass of humanity as the hundreds of thousands swarm the normally staid downtown for the concert and surrounding circus atmosphere. That throng of potential targets, along with the lay of the land around the festival, may have made the Chicago lakefront an attractive site for Paddock’s murderous plans. Because Grant Park borders Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan to the east, most entry and exit ways at the music festival were to the west, facing the Blackstone and the other tall buildings of Chicago’s “Loop” business district.