Stephen Paddock’s motive is still a mystery.
Though neighbors described him as a recluse, there was never any indication that he had a political or religious affiliation. As of Tuesday, police had not found any evidence that the attack was linked to terrorism. Before Oct. 1, the retired accountant’s only run-in with the law was a routine traffic violation.
Yet Paddock, 64, killed 59 people and wounded hundreds more when he opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 at a Las Vegas country music festival on Sunday night. Paddock later shot and killed himself as police closed in. Now questions are swirling about the killer’s reason for the horrific attack.
Stephen Paddock and Gambling
His brother, Eric Paddock, told CBS that Stephen had no history of mental illness but that he gambled. Police shed more light on the habit, calling it a gambling problem, Newsweek reported. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Paddock favored slot machines and video poker, and once sued a Vegas casino for negligence in 2012 after he said he slipped and fell on the casino floor. The lawsuit was dropped two years later.
Eric Paddock told news media on Monday that he was not aware of any financial struggles in his brother’s life.
“As far as we knew, he had enough money to live the rest of his life in comfort,” he said.
Stephen Paddock and Guns
Neighbors also said Paddock had a large safe in his home, but no one ever saw him handling or storing large amounts of guns and ammunition. His brother Eric said Monday that he was shocked to find out that Stephen had a cache of 23 guns at the time of the shooting.
Police found at least 19 guns in his Mesquite, Nevada home, though his brother had believed Paddock only owned a couple handguns and a rifle but 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 told CBS News. Eric Paddock told the media there was “just no reason, no warning” before the shooting.
Stephen Paddock and ISIS
On Monday, the Islamic State claimed Paddock carried out the attack because he was a recent convert to Islam and a “soldier of the Islamic State.” But federal investigators are skeptical and denied any link to ISIS. The militant group has released similarly worded statements when referring to terror attacks that were inspired, rather than specifically directed, by the group.
Stephen Paddock and Family
“He was nice to my kids when they went out to Vegas. My kids didn’t know him that well. He lives on the other coast and that kind of thing. He sends his mom cookies,” the younger Paddock said.
For several years, Stephen Paddock had a girlfriend, Marilou Danley, with whom he lived and traveled, according to The Washington Post. Danley, 62, is described as an Australian of Asian heritage. Police named Danley as a person of interest, but after interviewing her, police released a statement saying they don’t believe she was involved in the shooting, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Paddock’s father was a well-known bank robber and on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list after escaping prison in the 1960s, according to his brother. The Daily News reports that Patrick Benjamin Paddock went by several aliases, including “Old Baldy” and Chromedome.” He was arrested in his 30s for robbing a bank in Phoenix. He was living with his wife and four kids in Tucson at the time.