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.
I don’t know if it is the shooter or not, but it looks like him and the girl next to him sure looks like his girl friend. It should not be to hard to determine if it is the shooter or not.
The FBI has been thru all his stuff so I’ll bet the FBI knows why he did what he did. He put a great deal of thought and a great deal of time into planning his massacre. One does not do that without strong motivation. He had a motive and I am reasonably certain the FBI knows what it was.
No motive yet? Not buying it.
Yep. But I'd guess within 24 hours they knew the motive.
Maybe he wasn’t alone in there at all, but was “offed” after (maybe even before) all the shooting, so he would be left to take all the blame.
Authorities really haven’t shared any evidence with the public as far as I know.
When I heard Trump on the radio prior to leaving Washington for LV, is tone of voice was unlike him. His tone seemed deeply personal.
In other words, my theory is completely speculative. On the other hand, the media and liberal politicians have been merciless in their contempt for Trump for 18 months. I could see that as a trigger for someone like the shooter.
Motive? To take away guns. The powers that be are most afraid of machine guns, so they set up these mass shootings every couple of months to disarm the people.
Study history. Disarmament of the people is a prerequisite for genocide.
Do you really think they care about how many people they kill?
The public, the proles, are acting as expected. (They are clamoring for their own demise)
Not rocket science.
Who is the real enemy of the Republic?
I heard an interview with a Marine that said he lived for seven months next to Paddock within the last couple of years. He said Paddock didn’t seem to have any interest in guns, and if anything, he thought Paddock had pro-Trump leanings.
Had Paddock run up any gambling or other debts that anyone’s heard of, or was he blowing $10k-$30k a day for the previous couple of weeks that he had in the bank? Does that imply he had a $350k nest-egg (including the gf’s $100k). or had he liquidated something, or did such a sum magically appear in his account from somewhere (in the ME)?
Statements like these drive me nuts. So WTF did he base that statement on? Did anyone ask him? Did the neighbor not say?
Not buying it.
The usual disinformation from NPR.
Yep...The neighbor claims to feel Paddock was Trump supporter...But then no where does it say what he based that on? For any reporter their first immediate question would have been, “Why do you say that”? “What do you base that comment on”?
This kind of crap is rampant today.
“Hotel personnel”? Probably not. Hotel security? I would hope so.
The chiefs of security at every hotel and casino in Vegas are (or were, just a few years ago) all retired FBI agents and the ones I knew at MGM Grand, Caesar’s and Circus Circus were always paying attention to oddities.
The guy wasn’t registered to vote and seemed so involved with gambling and not the least bit concerned with politics. I’m at a loss for a motive but I do wonder why ISIS keeps claiming him.
The marine said effectively that he had at least irregular contact with him as Paddock would sit in a lawn chair in his driveway.
That is what it looks like when someone becomes radicalized. They start doing things out of their normal routine.
It is a media trick.
Mr. Australian friend of Paddock, would you say that Steven had any conservative views at all.
Yeah well it did kinda like his guns.
Film at 11. Mass killer was a conservative !
Police say he bought dozens of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosives typically used for target shooting.
Thought he had previously registered as a Democrat in Florida ?
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Ah, yes. That pretty well much explains the motive.
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