Rep. Perry, on Fox News, suggests Vegas shooter had ISIS ties

Staff report
Vice President Mike Pence, left, reaches across U.S. Representative Scott Perry to shake hands with small business Co-owner of The Camera Box Tammy Shearer, right, during a round table discussion at Military & Commercial Fasteners Corporation in Manchester Township, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry suggested during an appearance on Fox News Thursday, Jan. 18, that the Las Vegas shooter who killed 58 people last October had ties to Islamic terrorist groups.

The York County Republican was being interviewed by Tucker Carlson on Thursday night when he said he smells "a rat like a lot of Americans" in relation to the mass shooting attack.

Though ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack shortly after it occurred, authorities have publicly maintained their belief that Stephen Paddock, the gunman, acted alone.

"Recently, I've been made aware of what I believe to be credible evidence, credible information regarding potential terrorist infiltration through the southern border regarding this incident," Perry said on the show.

Perry, who serves on the House Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, did not elaborate on where he received this information.

Investigators still have not discovered what motivated Paddock to embark on the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history but determined that he researched SWAT tactics ahead of the massacre and investigated other possible targets, including the famed California beach in Santa Monica, officials said Friday, Jan. 19.

They also determined that Paddock acted alone when he opened fire from his high-rise hotel suite, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters.

The sheriff and the FBI have said they found no link to international terrorism. They said they believe Paddock meticulously prepared and concealed his plan to fire assault-style weapons from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival music below.

News outlets including The Washington Post have referred to Perry's claims as "channeling internet conspiracy theory."

Perry reinforced his comments Friday, Jan. 19, in a Facebook post, claiming information from a "highly credible source" was recently brought to his attention relating the shooting to terrorist involvement.

"I’d be derelict in my duties and my Oath of Office if I failed to bring this information forward," he wrote. "I took this action neither lightly nor without grave and diligent thought."

Perry added that he reached out to federal authorities to share this information, but did not receive a response.

Representatives from Perry's office could not immediately be reached for further explanation.