Hours after Stephen Paddock allegedly fired a fully automatic weapon into a crowd of country music fans attending a concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 and injuring over 500 people, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Monday, the Islamic State said that Paddock is one of its “soldiers” through its Amaq news agency. They also claimed that Paddock, a 64-year-old white man who lived in nearby Mesquite, converted to Islam “months ago.”
The FBI said on Monday that there is “no connection” between the shooting and any international terrorist groups.
According to Khuram Zaman, CEO of Fifth Tribe and an expert in ISIS online tactics, it’s highly unlikely that Paddock was a part of the Islamic State. However, despite pushing falsehoods and propaganda, they’re not known for claiming attacks that they never took part in.
“ISIS usually doesn’t make false claims to steal the spotlight,” Zaman told Red Alert Politics. “But they’ve been losing a lot of territory lately, so it’s possible this is an attempt to stay relevant.”
He went on to say, “If it’s true, they’ll release some audio or video as proof in the upcoming weeks.”
“Either way, this is a disturbing development.”
Another element that stood out to Zaman is the recent report from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department that police breached the hotel room that Paddock was in and found him dead with a gun wound to the head.
“Stephen Paddock shot himself in the head which is a pretty strong indicator it’s not ISIS related,” Zaman explained. “Seems like a murder-suicide, but the victims aren’t a friend or family, but random victims.”