CBS 5 Investigates: Vegas shooter bought tracer rounds from Mesa man

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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A law enforcement source tells Arizona's Family that Vegas gunman Steven Paddock bought a thousand rounds of tracer ammo from a Mesa man he met at a Phoenix-area gun show.

The seller's name and address were found on a piece of paper in the shooter's hotel room.

We are told the Mesa man was fully cooperative when investigators showed up at his house.

The sale is believed to be legal.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Las Vegas shooting]

Mike Reber of Arizona Arms in Chandler doesn't normally sell tracer ammo, but he found a few rounds to show us.

"Not a hot item," he told our crew. "You're not going to sell very many of them and it's not something that's going to be used in everyday applications. Special purpose; that's it."

Tracer ammo is typically used in the military. But YouTube videos show hobbyists also fire them for target practice.

The bullets have a pyrotechnic charge that illuminates their path, especially at night.

"They're a chemical compound," says Reber. "They use magnesium and different colors from different chemicals."

Reber says people typically fill magazines with a mix of tracer rounds and regular ones. And that's why he was surprised when a law enforcement source told us that Steven Paddock bought a thousand tracer rounds in Mesa.

"That would be an awful lot for tracers," said Reber. "I mean, if you're talking every fourth round, in a military application, and it's a 30 round magazine -- you're going to have seven of them. I mean, how are you going to go through a thousand of them? That's an awful lot of rounds."

At this point, it's not clear if Paddock actually used tracer bullets.

"The big disadvantage is that you're giving away your position," said Reber. "Because when you're firing tracers, everybody can see where they're going."

And it's a long shot, but Reber says a shooter might try to use tracers to spark a fire. And we've learned Paddock did hit at a fuel tank at McCarran Airport with two bullets.

We called around to the three big outdoor ranges in the Valley, and they all ban tracer rounds because they can potentially spark a fire.

[READ MORE: Las Vegas officials give timeline of mass shooting]

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