Monday 16 September 2019

Vegas killer 'quiet and caring', says girlfriend

Police probe 'secret life' of gunman who fired at concert crowd, killing 59

President Donald Trump speaks as he visits the Metropolitan Police Department command centre in Las Vegas. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty
President Donald Trump speaks as he visits the Metropolitan Police Department command centre in Las Vegas. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty

Nick Allen

The girlfriend of the Las Vegas mass murderer has described him as a "kind, caring, quiet man" as police pored over the gunman's "secret life".

Marilou Danley was interviewed by FBI agents in a bid to discover the motive of Stephen Paddock, who is said to have spent decades acquiring weapons.

There was no evidence at this point to indicate that the mass shooting was terrorism, FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse told a news conference, adding no one had been taken into custody as a suspected accomplice.

Ms Danley said in a statement that she had no clue he was planning the massacre that left 59 dead and more than 500 injured in America's worst ever mass shooting.

"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."

Marilou Danley
Marilou Danley

Ms Danley said in the statement that Paddock had told her two weeks ago that he had found a cheap plane ticket for her to visit family in the Philippines.

"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."

She said she became concerned at that point, thinking he wanted to break up with her.

"It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone."

She added that she was praying for the victims of the massacre. "I am a mother and grandmother and my heart breaks for all who have lost loved ones," she said.

More details emerged showing the extent to which the attack was meticulously planned.

Paddock had 1,600 rounds of ammunition and several containers of an explosive commonly used in target shooting that totalled 23kg in his car, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. But the sheriff said he didn't know what, if anything, Paddock planned with the explosives.

The shooter also sprayed 200 rounds of gunfire into the hallway when an unarmed security guard, identified as Jesus Campos, approached his hotel room.

The security guard, who was hit in the leg, then helped a group of police officers clear out rooms on the 32nd floor of the hotel, before they finally got to Paddock.

Lombardo said Paddock planned to survive and escape from the hotel, but he didn't say how. "We have produced a profile of someone who is disturbed and dangerous," Lombardo said.

Lombardo told reporters he found it hard to believe that the arsenal of weapons, ammunition and explosives recovered by police in their investigation could have been assembled by Paddock completely on his own.

"You have to make an assumption that he had some help at some point," Lombardo said, adding that the attack was the obvious outcome of meticulous planning.

"What we know is that 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," the sheriff said.

The 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and real estate investor specifically requested an upper-floor room with a view of the music festival when he checked in last Thursday, according to a person who has seen hotel records turned over to investigators but wasn't authorised to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Authorities have said he brought 23 weapons in 10 suitcases into the room and set up cameras inside and out to watch for police closing in on him. But Lombardo said that none of the cameras was recording.

Speaking to first responders in the city, Donald Trump said the killer must have had his "wires screwed up".

The president, who made a private visit to a hospital with his wife, Melania, said investigators were "learning a lot more" about Paddock.

Flanked by doctors at the hospital Mr Trump said he had met "terribly wounded" patients who were "some of the most amazing people" and had shown "tremendous bravery".

Mr Trump said he had invited them to the White House.

He said: "The only message is we're with you 100pc. Believe me, I'll be there for them. We have a great country and we are there for you."

He added: "It's a very, very sad day for me, personally."

During his visit Mr Trump deflected a question about whether the US has a problem with gun violence. "We're not going to talk about that today," he said. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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