Stephen Paddock, Las Vegas Suspect, Was a Gambler, a Cipher, a ‘Lone Wolf’




 
 
The man who checked into a Las Vegas hotel and massacred dozens of concertgoers with a vicious deluge of bullets late Sunday lived in a quiet retirement community in Mesquite, Nev., about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, the police say. Relatives and neighbors said he and his companion drew little attention to themselves.

The gunman, identified as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, was described as a retiree who loved to gamble and who lived with his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62.

Relatives said Mr. Paddock had not displayed strong political or ideological beliefs in their interactions with him.

That modest portrait of Mr. Paddock was upended shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday night when, according to the police, he opened fire on fans attending an outdoor country music concert near the Mandalay Bay Resort on the Las Vegas Strip, killing nearly 60 people and injuring at least 500 others.

Mr. Paddock was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot in his room on the 32nd floor of the hotel, said Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. At least 10 guns were found in the hotel room, including several rifles, the authorities said.

Sheriff Lombardo described Mr. Paddock as “lone wolf” who had smashed the window of the hotel with a hammer-like device before starting to fire on the crowd.

A motive for the horrific attack remained unclear. “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point,” Sheriff Lombardo said.

“It wasn’t evident that he had weapons in his room,” the sheriff said. “It has been determined that he had employees going to and fro from his room, and nothing nefarious was noticed.”
 
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His brother, Eric Paddock, who lives in Orlando, said he and his family were “shocked, horrified” by the news, saying he was “not an avid gun guy at all.” The brother told CBS News that he knew Mr. Paddock had handguns, but that as far as he knew, Mr. Paddock did not own “machine guns.”
 



 
“Where the hell did he get automatic weapons? He has no military background or anything like that,” the brother said. “When you find out about him, like I said, he’s a guy who lived in a house in Mesquite and drove down and gambled in Las Vegas.”

He said he last spoke to his brother when Stephen called to ask how the family had fared during Hurricane Irma, which struck Florida in September.
 
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“He texted me to ask about my mom after the hurricane,” Eric Paddock said. “He sent her a walker.”

A spokesman for the Mesquite Police Department said there was nothing remarkable about Stephen Paddock’s home, in a cul-de-sac in a “fairly quiet” retirement community.

He described the area as “just a regular neighborhood” and added that nothing was “out of the ordinary” when police searched the home on Monday. The spokesman said some weapons and ammunition were found in the house but would not specify the type or quantity.




 
 
The Mesquite Police Department said they had no interactions with the couple, including traffic stops. Eric Paddock said that Ms. Danley was his brother’s girlfriend and that he did not think that they were married.

Mr. Paddock’s ex-wife, who now lives near Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles police that they had divorced 27 years ago after being married six years. They had no children.

His brother said that Mr. Paddock liked to gamble, and “was nice to my kids when they went out to Vegas.”

He continued: “He didn’t have active employment. His life is an open book. It’s all in the public record. He went to college, he had a job. You’ll find out.”

Sheriff Lombardo said that a second property owned by the suspect had been found through an examination of ownership records.

Mr. Paddock spent several years living in Mesquite, Tex., an eastern suburb of Dallas. From 2004 and 2012, Mr. Paddock was associated with several properties in the city and had a Texas driver’s license that has now expired, according to a spokesman for the Mesquite police department.

Mr. Paddock had no criminal history in the Texas city. “We have no record that we have dealt with him in any way,” said the police spokesman, Lt. Brian Parrish. “We have no record that we’ve ever dealt with him.”

Speaking to FloridaToday in Viera, where Mr. Paddock had a home, a neighbor, Sharon Judy, described Mr. Paddock as “a normal man.”

“He seemed normal, other than that he lived by gambling,” Ms. Judy told FloridaToday. “ He was very open about that. First time we ever met him, he handed us the key to the house and said, ‘Hey, would keep an eye on the house, we’re only going to be here every now and then.’ ”
 
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Details of Mr. Paddock’s employment history are sparse.

Lockheed Martin, the aerospace contracting company created by a 1994 merger, confirmed that he worked for one of its predecessor companies from 1985 to 1988. Lockheed Martin did not identify which company Mr. Paddock worked for specifically. The company said it was cooperating with law enforcement.

The Dallas Morning News reported that Mr. Paddock lived and worked as a manager and owner of an apartment complex in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, Tex., beginning in 2000.
 



 
A resident, Priscilla McBride, said that Mr. Paddock roamed the apartment property, casually talking to residents.

He moved away several years ago, she said, and they had not seen each other since. “I thought, it couldn’t be,” she said. “You would have never thought he would be killing people. You just never know.”


Source: www.nytimes.com