5 things to know about Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock

Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music festival Sunday from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino

By PoliceOne Staff

At least 58 people are dead and over 500 others wounded after a gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened fire on a country music festival Sunday from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Police later found Paddock, described as a “lone wolf,” dead in the room. Here are five things to know about the perpetrator of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

1. Paddock was a local and not well known to police.

Paddock lived in Mesquite, a quiet retirement community dotted with golf courses and casinos about 80 miles from Las Vegas. Mesquite police did not know Paddock, and the LVMPD police said they only had a record of a traffic stop for a minor violation.

2. Paddock reportedly lived a quiet life

Paddock’s brother, Eric, described Stephen as “just a guy” who gambled and “ate burritos.” He was reportedly a retired accountant and “had enough money to live the rest of his life in comfort.” Eric also said Paddock had no military background. In the '80s, he briefly worked for a “predecessor” company to Lockheed Martin. His father reportedly was a bank robber and on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list.

Paddock, who checked into the hotel on Thursday, reportedly made several large gambling transactions in the weeks prior to the shooting. It is not clear if Paddock won money from those transactions. In 2012, he sued Cosmopolitan Hotels & Resorts Inc. in Las Vegas for negligence. The case was later dropped.

The suspect also had a private pilot’s license.

3. Police cleared Paddock’s 'companion' in the case.

In the wake of the shooting, police were searching for a person of interest, Marilou Danley, described as Paddock’s “companion.” She was reportedly Paddock’s roommate in Mesquite. Police later located her overseas and do not believe she was involved in the incident. 

4. Did Paddock alter his weapons?

Police found guns and ammunition in Paddock’s home. Police recovered at least 10 firearms from the hotel room where he carried out the attack – including .223 caliber and .308 caliber weapons investigators believe Paddock purchased illegally. Police suspect the guns were altered to fire more rapidly.

Some experts say the inconsistent pattern of gunfire captured in footage of the attack does suggest the guns were modified – possibly via a “trigger crank” or “bump stock.”

5. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but the FBI says there is no known international terror connection.

The Islamic State was quick to claim responsibility for the attack.  The terrorist group called Paddock “a soldier” who converted to Islam months ago, but provided no evidence.

The FBI refuted the claim, saying investigators had not found any connection to an international terrorist group.

ISIS has falsely claimed responsibility for mass casualty attacks before.

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