With no criminal history and no public indication of any mental disorders, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock had no problem accumulating the 23 guns he carried into the Mandalay Resort and Casino this week.
Early news reports suggested Paddock used an automatic rifle to kill some of the 59 who have died (so far) and wounded more than 500 others, making him the first mass shooter in America to use a fully automatic weapon to take too many people’s lives in such an event.
Now, new reports say Paddock had at least one AR-15 with a “bump stock” modification that allows use of the weapon’s recoil to fire many rounds almost as fast as an automatic. If so, his guns were legal but still very, very deadly.
Stephen Paddock died a millionaire. The retired accountant who once worked for Lockheed Martin loved high stakes gambling and country music. With no children, he traveled extensively, owned four homes and spent weeks at a time in casino hotels where he played mostly video poker.
“It’s like a job for him,” brother and former business partner Eric Paddock told the Washington Post. “It’s a job where you make money. He was a the hotel for four months one time. It was like a second home.”
Paddock stayed in a corner suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay. As a high-stakes gambler, the hotel may have “comped” (paid for) his room. He owned at least two planes along with a pilot’s license to fly them and would fly up to Alaska to fish.
“He ‘s known,” his brother says. “He’s a top player. He’s the small end of the big fish.”
He didn’t flash his wealth and his homes had sparse furniture and nothing on the wells.
“He was weird,” says Diane McKay, who lived next door to Paddock and his girlfriend in Reno. “It was like living nothing. You can be at least grumpy, something. He was just nothing, quiet.”
Mckay remembers seeing a huge safe, “the size of a refrigerator” in Paddock’s garage. He kept a suitcase in a rental car he owed and always seemed to be “off somewhere” on a trip.
Before the Sunday night shooting, Paddock’s only known connection to crime was his father, a notorious bank robber once on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.
Brother Eric told The Post said he talked with Paddock about a month ago.
“I can’t believe he was planning this but he must have. It takes time,” he said.
Stephen Paddock died in his hotel suite. Police say he killed himself after killed 59 and wounded more than 500 people at an open air country music concert in the Mandalay plaza.
“Something broke in his head,” said his brother. “Did he have a stroke? I’m hoping they cut open his brain and find something. There’s a data point missing.”
Las Vegas sheriff Joseph Lombardo says in another way.
“I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath,” he said at a press briefing.