5 things to know about Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock

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


By PoliceOne Staff

This article, originally published Oct. 2, 2017, has been updated with current information.

Fifty-eight people were killed and 851 others wounded after a gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened fire on a country music festival Oct. 1, 2017 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, Lived A QUiet Life and Was 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.

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. He also ran a real estate business with his brother for a time, in which he earned a few million dollars. The suspect also had a private pilot’s license. His father reportedly was a bank robber and on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list, but Stephen and his brother didn't know him well as he wasn't around when they were growing up.

Paddock, who checked into the hotel a few days before the shooting, 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. Although he was a regular gambler and recieved benefits from his frequent visits to casinos, he was on the lower end of the spectrum and wasn't considered to be a high roller

Paddock struggled with bouts of depression and had lost a significant amount of money in the couple years leading up to the shooting. He was also reportedly on anti-anxiety medication and drinking heavily. 

2. 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. 

3. Paddock altered his weapons.

Police recovered 23 rifles and one handgun from the hotel room where he carried out the attack – including .223 caliber and .308 caliber weapons outfitted with sights and resting on bipods. The guns were altered to fire more rapidly via “bump stocks.” Police found another 19 guns in his home. 

 

4. 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.

5. The FBI closed the case without finding a motive. 

The FBI found no "single or clear motivating factor" as to why Paddock carried out his attack, but the agency does believe he was seeking notoriety. The agency also said he was probably inspired in part by his father's criminal history, as well as his own diminishing wealth and declining health. 

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