Skip to comments.Las Vegas Shooter's Life Comes Into Focus, But Not His Motive
Posted on 10/06/2017 7:25:31 AM PDT by Zhang Fei
Investigators in Las Vegas are sifting through evidence they've gathered from the homes of the man who sprayed a concert crowd with gunfire. They've begun to interview his girlfriend. They've learned quite a bit about Stephen Paddock's past and preparation, but there is still no explanation why he damaged and destroyed so many lives.
Ken Russell is a retired wildlife biologist who lives in the same neighborhood where the Las Vegas shooter lived, in the sunny retirement community of Sun City Mesquite. That the carnage on Sunday night was carried out by someone living there was a shock, he said.
"This is a quiet neighborhood," said Russell on Monday, as he walked among palm trees, cacti, and houses of stucco and tile. "All of them up here in Sun City are quiet. People are too old to make any commotion."
That was the first surprise for investigators: that a 64-year-old man, an apparently wealthy retiree, a former postal worker, IRS agent and government auditor, would commit mass murder. He doesn't fit the mass shooter profile.
Others in Mesquite spotted Paddock playing cards and video poker in the local casinos, betting and winning big, stopping in at the community center, or picking up coffee at Starbucks.
Even his younger brother said he was puzzled by the rampage.
"He was a guy who took his little brother camping," Eric Paddock told reporter Amy Green at NPR station WFME in Orlando. "He was a guy who loved his women. He was a guy who played video poker. He was a guy who worked his ass off and made my family helped make my family and my mother affluent. He was a guy who, you know, was nice to my kids."
"That he did what he did, it just doesn't compute," he said.
The shooter made millions in investments in real estate, according to public records, in California, Nevada, Texas and Florida.
And he loved gambling and guns. Paddock had elite status at bigger casinos in Las Vegas, according to industry sources who insisted on anonymity to protect their jobs. Police say he bought dozens of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosives typically used for target shooting.
Three times earlier this year, he drove the 40 miles from Mesquite to St. George, Utah, to Dixie GunWorx, where gun seller Chris Michel found him more engaging than most.
"He came in and everything he wore, his demeanor, the person that he was, the openness, with his personality," said Michel. "He was the guy next door that would, you know, mow people's lawns for you. He would be the guy handing out ice cream cones on the corner when the bus comes to a stop to the kids. He would be the one that all of us would have taken to the family barbecue and invited. He just, he was an open guy to us."
Paddock easily passed the background checks he needed to buy a shotgun from Michel and other weapons from other dealers. So far, police have revealed no evidence of illegal possession of firearms. Some neighbors in Nevada, Texas and Florida who've spoken with reporters, simply say Paddock and his girlfriend kept to themselves, and didn't do anything alarming.
"He was very trusting to complete strangers," said Sharon Judy, who lived next door to the home Paddock owned in Melbourne, Fla. She says he handed her a key, asking her to keep an eye on the house and borrow any tools she might be able to use.
"It's really scary to think this is a guy next door," she told NPR's Pam Fessler. "Perfectly normal. On nobody's radar. Nobody's reason to think anything of any of it. And then all of a sudden he goes out and does something like this."
Police are similarly puzzled. Clark County Sherriff Joe Lombardo said the shooting and the evidence gathered so far show meticulous planning by a disturbed and dangerous man.
Paddock used Airbnb to rent a condo in a downtown Las Vegas high-rise during a different music festival the weekend before he fired upon the Route 91 Harvest Festival. And someone named Stephen Paddock booked a room at a Chicago hotel overlooking Grant Park during Lollapalooza there in August, though the hotel says no one by that name actually stayed at the hotel then.
"What we know is Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo, and living a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood," Lombardo said on Wednesday.
And the sheriff speculated that the shooter may have had an accomplice: "You've got to make the assumption he had to have some help at some point."
The shooter's girlfriend, Marilou Danley, said she had no hints of the rampage. Her attorney, Matthew Lombard, read a statement from Danley, which said in part:
"I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man. I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him. He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of, that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen."
"A little more than two weeks ago, Stephen told me he found a cheap ticket for me to the Philippines and that he wanted me to take a trip home to see my family. Like all Filipinos abroad, I was excited to go home and see family and friends. While there, he wired me money, which he said was for me to buy a house for me and my family. I was grateful, but honestly, I was worried that first, the unexpected trip home, and then the money, was a way of breaking up with me. It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone."
This apparent silence, the secret life, also defies another characteristic of mass shooters, says Dr. Reid Meloy, a forensic psychologist at the University of California San Diego Medical School. Meloy's research shows that some kind of grievance big or small can be a triggering event. The grievance can spiral into planning and preparing some kind of response.
"That's of course the mystery in this particular case is that there doesn't yet seem to be any grievance that's surfaced," says Meloy.
The secretive planning and preparing for the response can end up overshadowing the grievance as it becomes its own motivation. And Meloy says research shows that mass shooters often fuel their excitement by telling somebody something of their plans.
"A number of studies have found that a majority of these individuals that carry out mass murders will communicate their intent to a third party before they do it," he says. "There is at least one person that knows the path that this individual is on. There does not seem to be any evidence of that yet in this case which would be an anomaly."
That's an assessment shared by the sheriff on Wednesday.
"Anything that would indicate this individual's trigger point and that would cause him to do such harm we haven't understood it yet," said Lombardo.
Four days after the shooter carried out his meticulous plan, investigators have learned some things about Stephen Paddock. But still not enough to make sense of his terrible crime.
The lack of reported motive is the dog that doesn’t bark. I suspect they know his motive but aren’t saying.
“...a former postal worker, IRS agent and government auditor, would commit mass murder. He doesn’t fit the mass shooter profile.”
He doesn’t? So what is NPR’s ‘definition’ of a mass shooter? I’ve never heard them utter the word, ‘Islamist Jihadist.’
it’s NPR and I’m betting you’re right. That filthy rat McCabe is running the FBI op so we will probably never know.
So, where is that filthy rat McCabes boss, Wray?
There was no evil motive.
I’m leaning towards decades of suppressed anxiety boiling up towards an explosion, possibly fueled by benzo and alcohol addiction, taken, ironically, to deal with anxiety. He seemed to gravitate towards risk. Making money in real estate usually means a huge amount of leverage, and casino odds are not great for customers. Not the kind of thing you typically see an accountant/auditor do. Sounds like a Falling Down scenario without the falling down, meaning the stress becomes unbearable, so he stages a blow-off event, because of a mind addled by a combo of benzos and booze. One Freeper commented that 1/5 of the dosage of a single Valium pill prescribed to Paddock was enough to get him babbling deliriously.
His brother must have some idea of the types of things that riled him up. He may be telling the truth that he doesn't understand why his brother did this — although the brother's use of the word “troubling” rather than “astounded” is odd — but I can't believe he knows nothing about the types of people or causes that at least would irritate his brother.
In fact all the MSM is going out their way to say there is absolutely no evidence of any motive. Seems to be setting the "we'll probably never know" meme. I keep coming back the Sheriff's "radicalized" comment. He didn't pull that out of the air. There's definitely stuff being held back.
All the leaks in government but nothing on this. Maybe Russia will tell us.
Seriously, what could it be that it has to be kept from us?
Did they ever find out a motive for James Hodgkinson's Virginia rampage?
That's where I'm leaning as well. I think people looking for some kind of religious or political motive aren't going to find one. So far there's zero evidence this guy was ideological.
FWIW, looking at the extensive history of mass shootings in the United States, very few of them were politically or religiously motivated.
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That's not surprising. The typical person who does this has been dealt a losing hand by Lady Luck. And that's usually where the motive comes from - a desire to strike out at whatever forces are felt to be holding him down. Muslims want to kill the infidel stealing Muslim oil and corrupting Muslim women. McVeigh wanted to strike back at a murderous and oppressive federal government. And so on.
What's Paddock's excuse? I'd say this is going to be very similar to Sandy Hook - a psychotic break adapted to the personality of a very methodical, almost OCD individual.
They knew very shortly that Hodgkinson was a Bernie Sanders supporter with deeply-held liberal views who loathed Trump and Republicans. CNN ran a story about it.
“...The lack of reported motive is the dog that doesnt bark. I suspect they know his motive but arent saying....”
You can bet your last dollar they know....and Trump knows.
It doesn’t fit the media’s and the Left’s agenda.
This albatross would end up hanging around the Left’s neck for a long time.
And it just may end up there anyway before it’s all over....and it should.
He kept saying there must have been an accomplice. He's now rejected that theory, presumably based on security video. The typical perp that cops deal with have problems finding their rear ends, even using both hands and a flashlight. He's just not dealt with what a smart, accomplished individual can do just via a combination of research and figuring things out on his own. Paddock also had enough money to buy whatever he needed. The sheriff must have figured he needed financing to buy his gear.
We are fortunate there aren't more like him. By this, I mean we have plenty of smart guys, but very few who would do something like this.
Paddock’s way more homely than the guy in the picture, who looks a little like Alec Guinness.
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