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FBI Continues Work To Discover What Motivated Strip Shooter

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Brent Holmes

Aaron Rouse, who heads the FBI in Nevada, said the close working relationship of Las Vegas public safety agencies was on display following the Oct. 1 mass shooting on the Strip.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse, who heads the bureau in Nevada, was getting ready for bed on Oct. 1 when he got a call about an active shooter at Mandalay Bay.

He hurried to the scene and was soon collaborating at the command post with Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo in response to the worst mass shooting in modern U.S.  history.

In the nearly two months since, Rouse has led the federal portion of the investigation into the attack, which saw gunman Stephen Paddock kill 58 people before taking his own life.

Rouse, a 20-year FBI veteran, became a fixture at the televised news conferences in the days following the attack. While the news conferences have stopped, Rouse said the bureau continues to process and collect evidence in the case.

“Everyone wants to know why. That includes the FBI. That includes Metropolitan Police, Rouse said. “And I believe at the end of this investigation, when this is finalized, we’re going to come as close as possible to answering that question.”

Rouse said, that along with the FBI lab studying physical evidence, agents are looking at Paddock’s finances and travel history as well as interviewing those who knew him.

Rouse said he was extremely proud of how everyone responded to the tragedy. He said how first responders, the hotels, police, and the FBI worked together in the hours, days and weeks after the shooting point to strong partnerships that need to continue.

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“If we are going to get through this if we are going to be Vegas Strong that begins the process," he said, "Knowing that you have a cooperative law enforcement environment here with the community and the key community partners to know we’re all interested in the same thing.”

And why everyone wants answers, some people wanted to label the shooting terrorism. For Rouse, what it is called is not the point.

“The way I look at it it doesn’t matter if it’s terrorism or not,", he said "It matters who did this, how did they get it done and is there anyone else out there that is going to try to replicate or is a part of that event."

Human Trafficking

Besides the Oct. 1 shooting, Rouse also talked to KNPR's State of Nevada about the problem of human trafficking. 

The FBI has put up billboards around Southern Nevada directly people to a phone number if they are being held against their will or if someone in the community suspects a person is being held against his or her will.

Most of the people who are being trafficked are involved in the sex industry. Rouse was clear that even though those people are involved in prostitution, they are victims. 

"This is about stopping the people that are profiting from the trafficking," he said, "And so engaging the community, giving them that information where they can go out and have that knowledge to spot somebody who might be the victim of human trafficking and then having an avenue for them to involve us. So, we can go out there and hopefully rescue them."

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FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse, heads FBI in Nevada

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