Updated February 15, 2018 12:44:39
Wherever he goes, people often think they know Joe Lombardo from somewhere.
His full head of silver hair has led to George Clooney comparisons. Our waitress thought he was Mark Harmon, the actor from the crime show NCIS.
But he is not that kind of famous.
Lombardo is the Sheriff of Clark County in Las Vegas.
People know him because for a week in October last year he was the face of the investigation into the mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert that left 59 people dead, including the gunman.
The last time I saw Sheriff Lombardo was in a briefing room four days after the shooting. Little was known then about the motive of the shooter, Stephen Paddock. Not much more is known now.
"The frustrating piece is obviously we don't know why, and I don't think we'll ever find out," Sheriff Lombardo told me over lunch in Washington DC earlier today, where he is spending the week at the National Sheriffs' Association Winter Conference.
The investigation is ongoing and Sheriff Lombardo said the incident was leading to changes around hotel security and planning for big events.
But he said it troubles him that he will never know the shooter's motive.
"I personally believe his status as a gambler and his wealth had diminished greatly, so that was a contributing factor," he said.
"And I personally believe — just by his actions and what we've learned from his girlfriend in interviews — that his mental capacity was starting to diminish and he may have known that himself and made a decision to go out with a bang.
"That is the best I can surmise".
Mass shootings in the US always prompt conversations about gun control.
In the days after the Las Vegas attack there was talk of banning the 'bump stock', a device that essentially turns a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic one.
Many said it was 'too soon' to talk about gun control. At the time President Donald Trump said "we'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by" but nothing has happened since.
What I did not know back then was that in 2016 — the year before the shooting — Sheriff Lombardo had publicly called for restrictions on the sale of high-capacity magazines.
"Prophetic isn't it?" he said.
He used the example of a standard round for an AR15 for which a standard magazine holds 30 bullets.
"That is fine and dandy but when an individual is utilizing 100-round magazines nobody can convince me [of] the need for it," he said.
The Las Vegas shooter — who Sheriff Lombardo refused to call by name — had several hundred 60, 70 and 80-round magazines in his hotel room.
"If it required him to change magazines during this particular event, maybe we could have saved some lives," he said.
"For us to effect change in American politics it has to be a continued conversation.
"It's troublesome to me that this event happened a few short months ago and the discussion … has waned."
After lunch the sheriff and I said our goodbyes and I walked back to the ABC bureau past the White House. I sat down at my desk and turned on CNN. After about an hour I turned to our bureau chief and asked if I should go home and pack my bags. "Yes", was the answer.
First posted February 15, 2018 12:27:02