Who Was Stephen Paddock? Las Vegas Shooter 'Not an Avid Gun Guy'
The man who killed 58 people and injured more than 500 others at a Las Vegas music festival did not have a criminal record, according to local authorities. He was “not an avid gun guy,” his brother said, despite being found with at least 10 firearms.
At first glance, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock seemed ordinary – a retiree who enjoyed visiting Las Vegas to gamble and attend concerts. According to public records cited by The Washington Post, he also enjoyed hunting and was a licensed pilot who owned two planes.
Not only did Paddock enjoy listening to concerts, but he specifically enjoyed country music and attending live music events at Las Vegas hotels – the exact scene where he would eventually open fire on 22,000 concert-goers.
Since 2013, he had lived a quiet life in the small town of Mesquite, Nevada. He bought a three-bedroom home in a desert retirement community on the outskirts of town for $370,000 in 2015, according to public records.
“It’s a nice, clean home and nothing out of the ordinary,” Mesquite police department spokesman Quinn Averett told reporters, as quoted by Reuters. Some guns and ammunition were found inside – not necessarily a remarkable finding, in an area where gun ownership is high.
He had no criminal background, with Las Vegas Police confirming that he had no more than a routine traffic violation on his file.
His own family has expressed “horror” at what Paddock was capable of, killing 58 people and injuring at least 515 others as they listened to country music singer Jason Aldean at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on Sunday night.
“We are in complete shock, bewilderment, and horror. We have absolutely no idea how in the world Steve did this. Absolutely no concept,” an unnamed relative told the Post. “There was nothing secret or strange about him.”
The shooter’s brother, Eric Paddock, expressed the same level of shock, telling CBS News that the gunman was “not an avid gun guy at all.”
“The fact that he had those kinds of weapons is just – where the hell did he get automatic weapons?” he said.
He told CNN he was aware his brother had “a couple of handguns” which he kept in a safe, and “maybe one long rifle,” but no machine guns or automatic weapons that he knew of.
“It’s like an asteroid fell out of the sky,” he said, describing his reaction to the shocking news.
A total of 10 guns, including some rifles, were found in the 32nd floor hotel room which Paddock had occupied since last Thursday. A deceased Paddock was also found at that time, after police officers and a SWAT team breached the room.
Authorities believe Paddock acted as a “lone wolf,” and have failed to come up with a motive.
“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.
However, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the attack, alleging that Paddock had converted to Islam several months previously. No evidence was offered to substantiate the claim, and the FBI has since said there was no international terrorist connection, according to AP.
Paddock lived with a woman by the name of Marilou Danley, 62, who was initially sought by police for questioning. However, authorities have since said they do not believe she had any connection to the attack, CNN reported, noting that she was out of the country at the time of the incident.