What We Know About The Las Vegas Strip Shooter : The Two-Way : NPR
Updated on Tuesday at 5:35 p.m. ET
Stephen Craig Paddock, the 64-year-old white man who police say carried out the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history Sunday night on the Las Vegas Strip moved frequently, buying and selling property in several states. But the twice-divorced retiree had one vein that seems to run through the middle of his itinerant lifestyle — a love of gambling.
Police say that on Sunday night, Paddock broke out windows in a 32nd-story hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and pulled the trigger, raining a hail of gunfire on concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival across the street. Witnesses described what followed as “nonstop gunfire” that sent people fleeing for their lives.
At least 59 people were killed and more than 500 injured.
Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said shooter, described by authorities as a “lone wolf,” checked into his room at the Mandalay on Thursday, but that police did not know what he had been doing in the days leading up to the shooting. Lombardo called Paddock “a psychopath.”
But in a news conference on Tuesday, Lombardo said authorities still did not have a motive for the shooting.
Paddock’s brother, Eric seemed to rule out any ideological motive for his brother’s actions. Asked if Stephen had been agitated about politics, he replied: “No religious affiliation. No political affiliation. He just hung out.”
He did say that his brother liked to play high-stakes video poker. “He was a guy. He gambled,” Eric, who lives in Orlando, Fla., told reporters Monday.
Although the Stephen Paddock had lived for several years in California and briefly in Florida, in recent years, Paddock seemed to gravitate Nevada — specifically the gambling Meccas of Vegas and Reno, which is where he may have met Marilou Danley, the woman described by authorities as his companion. His last address was in Mesquite, about 90 miles from Las Vegas.
He had another home in Reno, where Danley had worked as a “high-limit hostess” in the Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa, the casino said in a statement. Although Atlantis did not confirm the dates of her employment — reportedly from 2010 to 2013 — it did say she had left the job “several years ago.”
Records show that a few years after moving into Paddock’s condominium in Reno, Danley, an Australian citizen with family in the Philippines, divorced her husband of 25 years. Paddock sold the condo unit in Dec. 2016. Public records for Paddock show his first marriage was in 1977. He divorced in 1980. He married again in 1985 and was divorced from his second wife just five years later.
In 2013, Paddock bought a newly built property in Melbourne, Fl. NPR’s Pam Fessler spoke to a neighbor there, Sharon Judy, who lived next door. Paddock told Judy that he bought the house for speculation and that “he wouldn’t be living there, but he would come and visit.” She described him as friendly and said he gave her a key to the house so she could check in occasionally.
“He was very open with us that he bought the house for speculation, that he bought other homes for speculation,” Judy tells NPR. He also told her, “he was a professional gambler, he and Marilou both, and that’s what did. They traveled around, they gambled, they speculated on property.”
Judy said the couple would stay at the house for a few days at a time and then leave.
Paddock “never talked politics or religion,” she said. The couple told her that they gambled online and when they were at the house, they didn’t wake until noon or 1 p.m., “because they were up all night gambling.”
One other detail: “They would both talk about how they would go back to the Philippines and visit [her] family,” Judy says.
NBC News says that Paddock wired $100,000 to the Philippines last week, but NPR has not independently verified that report. NBC says that Danley traveled to the Philippines on Sept. 25 via Hong Kong. Separately, USA Today reports that authorities were looking into “recent transfers of large amounts of money involving the suspect and the possible relationship to gambling activities.”
Lombardo on Tuesday confirmed that Danley was in the Philippines and said she is currently considered “a person of interest.” He said he did not know about the reported wire transfer.
Eric Paddock, who spoke with Amy Green from member station WMFE, said he doesn’t think Danley will be able to provide much information about his brother’s mental state in the lead up to the attack.