5 Critical Facts You Need to Know About Stephen Paddock
Las Vegas, NV – The gunman in the Las Vegas mass shooting, who opened fire on concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival — which is now being called the deadliest mass shooting in US history — has been identified as Stephen Paddock.
The shooting rampage left at least 58 dead and 515 injured, according to the latest report from the Las Vegas Metro Police Department.
The shooter, Stephen Paddock, is a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, who opened fire on concert-goers located in a fairgrounds area on Las Vegas Boulevard from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
SWAT officers responded to the hotel room and used an explosive breach to enter the room and engage the suspect, but believe that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound prior to officers gaining access to the room.
In spite of the myriad of conspiracy theories and fake photos and motives posted online, Police do not yet have a motive and Paddock’s motivation is unknown.
Although ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, without evidence, police claim that Paddock has no known ties to any terrorist organization, according to NBC.
Here is what we know about the shooter thus far.
1. Police Do Not Believe This Was an Act of Terror ‘At this point’ & Called Paddock a ‘Local Individual’
Police said the shooter was a “local individual” who was firing from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel just outside the concert area. Authorities report that Paddock died inside the hotel room after a police SWAT team used an explosive breach to blow open the door and then attempted engaged with him. Police believe that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound prior to officers gaining access to the room.
Although ISIS has attempted to take responsibility for the attack, Sheriff Joe Lombardo, when asked by a reporter if the shooting was an “act of terrorism,” said “no, not at this point. We believe it was a local individual. He resides here locally. I’m not at liberty to give you his place of residence yet, because it’s an ongoing investigation, we don’t know what his belief system was at this time. … Right now we believe he is the sole aggressor at this point and the scene is static.”
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) October 2, 2017
The ISIS claims should be taken with a grain of salt, as the group has been shown to previously have attempted to piggyback on unrelated events/crimes in an effort to bolster their terror credentials.
1. ISIS in recent months has made a number of demonstrably false claims for attacks and incidents that had no jihadi terror nexus.
— Paul Cruickshank (@CruickshankPaul) October 2, 2017
2. More than 10 Firearms and Shooting Platform Found in Suspect’s Hotel Room
Sheriff Lombardo said numerous firearms were found inside the hotel room. Police sources have confirmed to KTNV that Paddock had more than 10 firearms in the room, two shooting platforms and cameras set up to see police arriving. Authorities believe that Paddock utilized long range rifles during the attack, according to News 8 Now.
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Police reportedly found where Paddock was shooting from by listening to where the gunshots were coming from, according to Las Vegas Undersheriff Kevin McMahill.
Police suspect the guns used in the shooting 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.”
3. Police Were Looking for a ‘Person of Interest’, Paddock’s companion, and Located Her Outside the Country
Police began searching for a “person of interest,” named Marilou Danley, 62. She was described as a “companion” of the shooter. Danley allegedly lived with the shooter in Mesquite, according to police. Public records show she had lived at the same address as Paddock since January 2017, reports Heavy.
According to a CNN report, Danley has since been cleared of any involvement in the shooting, and was not even in the country when the shooting occurred. Police reportedly made contact with after locating her in the Philippines.
“Marilou Danley is no longer being sought out as a person of interest,” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told CNN. “LVMPD detectives have made contact with her and do not believe she is involved with the shooting on the strip.”
4. Shooter’s Brother Says the Family Is ‘Dumbfounded’ by What Happened & Claims Stephen Had No Religious or Political Affiliation
During an interview with NBC News, Paddock’s brother Eric said that the entire family stunned as there was “absolutely no indication he could do something like this.” He told NBC that his brother “was just a guy” who liked to go to shows in Las Vegas and gamble, and that he was semi-retired and had a girlfriend.
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Eric Paddock, who lives in Florida, told the Daily Mail that the family is “dumbfounded.”
“He’s my brother, we don’t have a very close relationship but we talk occasionally. There’s no rhyme or reason here, it makes no sense. He has no political affiliation, no religious affiliation, as far as we know. This wasn’t a terror attack,” Eric Paddock told the Daily Mail.
“He was just a guy. Something happened, he snapped or something,” the shooter’s brother, Eric Paddock, added.
“We are completely dumbfounded,” Eric Paddock told the Orlando Sentinal. “We can’t understand what happened.”
5. Paddock’s Background
Details of Stephen Paddock’s background are still being investigated, and the family told NBC News that they would be releasing a statement through the police on Monday.
According to his brother Eric Paddock, the shooter was a retired accountant. He was divorced, was not known to have children, and was living with a woman (presumed to be Marilou Danley) in a home in Mesquite. He is not know to have a criminal record.
Paddock was in the midst of going through a break-up – although the identity of the woman is unknown, according to NBC News. The NBC report noted that it was unclear if these relationship issues had anything to do with the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Additionally, law enforcement sources told CBS News that Paddock had recently been gambling, including at the Mandalay Bay casino, and used Marilou Danley’s ID at a “slot club.” Undersheriff Kevin McMahill told CBS that there was a “gaming club, slot club, that casinos use and he was at one point using that card to gamble with. We know he’s been gambling.”
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Paddock had recently made large gambling transactions, but it was not whether this was the result of winning or losing, according to an NBC News reports. “He was a wealthy guy playing video poker … on cruises,” his brother said, adding that “Stephen could afford anything he wanted and played $100-a-hand poker.”
Public records reveal that Paddock was a pilot. Paddock was awarded a private pilot license on November 17, 2003, and was rated as being able to fly a single-engine airplane and an instrument airplane, according to the FAA records.
Paddock owned two aircraft, according to NBC News.
Paddock appears to have worked as an accountant or auditor, ABC News reports.
NBC News reports Paddock worked for a few years for a defense contractor. The defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, said in a statement that Paddock worked for a predecessor company from 1985 to 1988.
“We’re cooperating with authorities to answer questions they may have about Mr. Paddock and his time with the company,” Lockheed Martin said in a statement.
His father was a bank robber, Eric Paddock said. The FBI lists the late Benjamin Hoskins Paddock as being on the FBI’s most-wanted list from June 10, 1969, until May 5, 1977. The father escaped from prison in 1969 and lived on the run until 1978, when he was arrested in Oregon, the Eugene Register reported at the time.
He kept a low profile. Law enforcement has no “derogatory information” about Stephen Paddock, besides the fact that he received a citation several years ago that was handled in the court system, Sheriff Lombardo said.