SON OF A ‘PSYCHO’: What we know about Las Vegas gunman
Monday - 02/10/2017 19:24
THE 64-year-old man who opened fire on a Las Vegas music festival, killing at least 59, is now dead. Here’s what we know about him.
THE man accused of opening fire on a Las Vegas outdoor music festival on Sunday night in the worst mass shooting in US history has been identified as 64-year-old retiree Stephen Paddock.
The Nevada resident was found dead when a SWAT team stormed his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino, from which he rained bullets down on the country music concert.
Las Vegas sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters that the shooter took his own life when authorities entered.
Officers found an arsenal of at least 20 rifles inside the hotel room, the New York Times reported.
An AR-15 assault rife was among the cache of weapons found, according to law officials.
Two of the rifles had scopes on tripods which were positioned in front of the two windows that had been broken out.
Mr Paddock had been staying at the hotel since Thursday, September 28.
Mr Paddock was a white man from the city of Mesquite, northeast of Las Vegas, with no criminal history on federal, state or local records, except for a minor citation.
Mr Lombardo said a background check on the shooter failed to turn up any “derogatory” information.
Mr Paddock reportedly had no political or religious affiliations, he was university educated, he worked as an accountant or auditor before his retirement, and he was a licensed pilot who owned two planes.
Aaron Rouse of the Federal Bureau of Investigation rubbished IS’s claim, telling reporters on Monday that investigators had found “no connection to an international terrorist group”.
While the shooter appears not to have had any previous run-ins with the law, his father was Benjamin “Chromedome” Paddock, a bank robber who was on the FBI’s 10-most-wanted list during the 1960s.
A wanted poster from 1969, after Mr Paddock Sr had escaped a Texas prison, described him as a “psychopathic” who had “suicidal tendencies and should be considered armed and very dangerous”. He was eventually captured in 1978.
When he robbed an Arizona bank in 1960, Mr Paddock Sr’s neighbours told a local newspaper that they couldn’t believe that the “colourful businessman” and father-of-four they knew could be involved in such a shocking crime.
He had made gambling transactions totalling more than $10,000 a day at multiple Las Vegas casinos, sometimes clearing as much as $30,000 in a 24-hour period. It is unclear, however, whether those transactions amounted to wins or losses.
His brother also said Paddock was a “wealthy guy” from playing poker and could play $100-a-hand poker.
It also emerged a man identified as Stephen Paddock filed a slip-and-fall suit against The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in 2012.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, he claimed he “slipped and fell on an obstruction on the floor” and was injured as a result of the “dangerous condition.”
The lawsuit was dismissed in October 2014.
Police have not disclosed what weapon Mr Paddock used in the massacre, but they said he smashed the hotel windows with a hammer-like object to get a clear shot at the 22,000-strong crowd.
Authorities searched Mr Paddock’s Mesquite home, 90 minutes’ drive from Las Vegas, on Monday but uncovered nothing unusual.