No official confirmation on reports of Boston connection to Las Vegas shooter

BOSTON (WPRI) — Boston officials acknowledged but have not confirmed media reports that the gunman in the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas may have scouted locations in the Massachusetts capital before settling on Las Vegas.

Citing unidentified sources, CBS Boston reported Thursday that Stephen Paddock researched Fenway Park and other Boston venues online. CBS Boston’s sources told the station there’s no evidence Paddock was ever actually in Boston. The Associated Press and the Boston Globe also reported on the Boston connection, citing law enforcement sources.

CBS News also reported Paddock booked a hotel room overlooking music festival Lollapalooza in Chicago, but never checked in.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said the Commonwealth Fusion Center is in constant contact with Las Vegas authorities, who are conducting the investigation. He said there was no credible threat to Massachusetts or New England.

Boston police released a statement Thursday saying they’re monitoring the situation.

“We are aware of the media reports referencing a Boston connection to the Las Vegas mass shooting incident that occurred on Sunday, October 1, 2017. The Boston Regional Intelligence Center is in contact with our local and federal law enforcement partners here and in Las Vegas and continues to monitor the situation. There is currently no known threat to the Metro Boston Homeland Security Region related to this incident. The LVMPD is the lead investigating agency, therefore, all further inquires should be directed to them. The BPD has and will continue to take proper security measures to protect all public venues and gatherings in the city.”

The Red Sox announced security would be increased at Fenway Park.

“While there is currently no credible threat to Fenway Park according to public safety agencies, the Red Sox have been working with city, state, and federal officials on increased security measures for postseason games at Fenway Park,” Senior Director of Communications Zineb Curran said.

Eyewitness News Analyst Lt. Gen Reginald Centracchio, who was once the director of Homeland Security for Rhode Island, said security would likely be paying attention to hotels and tall buildings that overlook the open-air stadium.

“You can bet your last dollar that they’re going to have security looking at that possibility when they perhaps didn’t think about it before Las Vegas,” Centracchio said.

Centracchio also explained how the Fusion Centers are helping the FBI and Las Vegas authorities communicate with public safety officials in different parts of the country during this investigation.

“It’s a composite gathering of intelligence agencies looking at pieces of information, and sharing it with those that would otherwise not have access to it,” Centracchio said. “They need to know…maybe some lead will be uncovered by him having looked at Boston or having looked at Chicago.”

Investigators continue working to find out what led Paddock, 64, to open fire at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas from a high-rise hotel across the street, killing at least 58 people and wounding more than 500 others.

Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division, said:

“The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department along with the FBI has been investigating the attack in Las Vegas and we are following the evidence in search of the facts. Our sympathy is with the many victims, their families and friends in this difficult time.

“As the investigation continues, law enforcement authorities are assessing evidence to determine a motive. Without commenting on specific evidence, we understand information may come to light that we are pursuing to determine its relevance. We will not speculate and will make final determinations when we have all of the facts.

“We have no information to indicate any additional threat. We always work with our federal, state and local partners to ensure the safety of the public and continue to do so.

“The FBI Boston Division is actively assessing intelligence and at this time has no information indicating specific and credible threats to any segment to our community.

“The safety and security of the people of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island is our top priority and we work hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners to share and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention. In that light, we urge the public to report any and all suspicious activity.

“Rest assured, the FBI Boston Division is postured to assist this investigation in any way that’s necessary. We’ll be working closely with the Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and all of our law enforcement partners to fully investigate any and all potential leads that stem from the ongoing investigation in Las Vegas. We’ve been in constant contact with Boston Police and Massachusetts State Police since the Las Vegas shooting. Any possible nexus to Boston discovered during the ongoing investigation has and will be immediately briefed to the Boston Police Department, and other affected law enforcement agencies.”

Eyewitness News is working the story and will provide updates as soon as we learn them.