Tuesday 17 October 2017

Who is the Las Vegas gunman? Retiree set for a quiet life in the desert embarks on the worst mass shooting in US history

  • Gunman opened fire killing 59 people and injuring more than 500
  • Donald Trump calls the massacre "an act of pure evil"
  • The shooting is the deadliest shooting in US history
  • Gunman was a retiree, set for a quiet life in the desert
The gunman - named by police as Stephen Paddock (64) - opened fire from a hotel room on hundreds of poeple attending a music concert in Las Vegas
The gunman - named by police as Stephen Paddock (64) - opened fire from a hotel room on hundreds of poeple attending a music concert in Las Vegas
People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People tend to the wounded outside the festival ground after an apparent shooting on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
A pair of cowboy boots is shown in the street outside the concert venue after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas StripY
Police vehicles block a street corner after a deadly shooting at a music festival (AP Photo/Ronda Churchill)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

At first glance, it seemed Stephen Paddock (64) was set for a quiet life in a desert retirement community where he bought a new home in 2015. From there it was only an hour's drive to Las Vegas - where he would embark on the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history.

His brother, Eric Paddock, said he was a peaceful man who moved back to Nevada, where gambling is legal, partly because of his fondness for video poker.

"He's never drawn his gun, it makes no sense," Paddock said from his doorstep in Orlando, Florida. His brother had a couple of handguns he kept in a safe, perhaps a long rifle, "but no automatic weapons."

Eric Paddock said he had helped his brother move away from Central Florida's humidity to Nevada. The two were last in touch last month, texting about power outages after Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida.

People react at gunshots heard at music festival in Las Vegas, U.S., October 1, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. @RTBLECKvia REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
People react at gunshots heard at music festival in Las Vegas, U.S., October 1, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. @RTBLECKvia REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Their father was Patrick Benjamin Paddock, a violent bank robber who was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most Wanted list in the 1960s, NBC News reported.

The shooter himself had no criminal record apart from a traffic violation, police in Las Vegas said.

A former neighbor named Sharon Judy in Viera, Florida, told the Orlando Sentinel that Stephen Paddock was a friendly man who said he was a professional gambler. He had shown her a picture of him after he won a $20,000 slot-machine jackpot, she said.

In recent weeks, Paddock made gambling transactions worth tens of thousands of dollars, though it was unclear whether they were wins or losses, NBC News reported, citing unnamed law enforcement officials.

Public records point to an itinerant existence across the American West and Southeast: A few years in California, a few years in other parts of Nevada.

Paddock had a hunting license in Texas, where he lived for a while. He got his pilot license, and had at least one single-engine aircraft registered in his name.

People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People tend to the wounded outside the festival ground after an apparent shooting on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
A pair of cowboy boots is shown in the street outside the concert venue after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas StripY
Police vehicles block a street corner after a deadly shooting at a music festival (AP Photo/Ronda Churchill)
A woman sits on a curb at the scene of a shooting outside of a music festival along the Las Vegas Strip
Blurred image of heavily armed police officers running
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01 People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
People react at gunshots heard at music festival in Las Vegas, U.S., October 1, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. @RTBLECKvia REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
Police officers advise people to take cover near the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Las Vegas Shooting
Las Vegas Shooting
Las Vegas Shooting

In early 2015, he bought a modest two-story home in a new housing development for retirees on the dusty edge of Mesquite, a small desert town popular with golfers and gamblers that straddles the Nevada border with Arizona.

"It's a nice, clean home and nothing out of the ordinary," Quinn Averett, a Mesquite police department spokesman, told reporters on Monday. Some guns and ammunition were found inside, though nothing remarkable in a region where gun ownership is high.

An hour's drive southwest is Las Vegas, where Paddock checked into a 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino last Thursday with at least 10 rifles for a shooting spree that would kill least 58 people and hurt more than 500.

The FBI said he had no connection with international militant groups.

Before moving to Mesquite, Nevada, he lived in another town called Mesquite in Texas, where he worked as the manager of an apartment complex called Central Park.

His brother has claimed that the shooter was a multi-millionaire property developer.

Records as recent as 2015 list Paddock as single, though it appears he may have married while living in California in the 1980s. Police and public records said he lived with Marilou Danley in the Nevada retirement community. Police said she had no connection with the attack, CNN reported.

Reuters

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