Unsettling reports emerged Thursday that Las Vegas gunman behind the deaths of 58 people and wounding nearly 500 others at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, booked rooms overlooking Grant Park during this year’s Lollapalooza.
The Blackstone, which sits off Balboa and Michigan Avenues, is perched above the site of the popular festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of concertgoers annually. The hotel overlooks the festival’s main entrance and three of the festival stages—all reachable with the weapon Paddock used at the Las Vegas massacre.
This week police recovered an AR-15-type rifle, modified to fire as if it were an automatic weapon, along with another AR-15-type rifle, five handguns, two shotguns, and an arsenal of ammunition in Paddock’s Las Vegas hotel room. It was roughly 500 yards away from the stage upon which he opened fire.
According to DNAinfo, the weapon Paddock used could fire a distance of up to 900 yards, which would leave three of the Lollapalooza stages within the range.
Questions are swirling about the future of outdoor festivals in cities with tall buildings, where concertgoers are vulnerable to another Las Vegas-style attack.
“Can we stop this? Jon Loba, executive vice president at BBR Music Group, told Billboard magazine. “To the credit of most major promoters, all of our management team and our staff, they prepare the best that they possibly could for security threats, [but] you can’t protect everyone at every moment. It’s an absolute tragedy,”
In an email, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, “We are aware of the media reports and have been in communication with our federal partners … The city conducts extensive public safety planning and training around major events, in close coordination with our law enforcement partners, to ensure public safety.”
Attempts to reach C3, the organizers of the festival, were unsuccessful.
During a press conference earlier this week, Rahm Emanuel attempted to assuage fears ahead of the upcoming Chicago marathon by pointing out the federal agencies tasked with public safety, adding that his son would be running the race and that he would be among the million spectators watching the nearly 40,000 runners Sunday.
No additional information was provided on what protocols are in place, or if new methods would be introduced moving forward.