The Las Vegas gunman behind the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history led a secret life that has so far thwarted investigators trying to figure out a motive for the attack, and the initial person of interest has no idea how he got that point of carnage.
FBI officers spent hours on Wednesday interviewing gunman Stephen Paddock’s longtime girlfriend, who returned Tuesday from a weekslong overseas trip and said she had no inkling of the massacre he was plotting when he sent her to see family in her native Philippines, according to this report.
“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, 62, said in a statement delivered through her lawyer outside FBI headquarters in Los Angeles.
Danley, whom authorities had previously called “a person of interest,” had been expected to provide insight into the mind of Paddock, a frustratingly unclear figure who carried out his massacre from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay hotel, ultimately apparently killing himself without leaving the plain-sight clues often found after major acts of bloodshed, like abuse of medications or other substances, personal troubles, or mental health issues.
Danley, who was overseas for more than two weeks, said she was initially pleased when she was wired money from Paddock to buy a house for her family in the Philippines, but was also considering that maybe it was his way of breaking up with her.
Paddock wired $100,000 to the Philippines days before the shooting, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly because of the continuing investigation, and investigators are trying to trace that money.
She said she knew and loved Paddock as a “kind, caring, quiet man” and hoped they would have a future together.
She said she was devastated by the carnage and would cooperate with authorities as they struggle to get unlock the series of events that had led Paddock on his rampage.
“He was a private guy. That’s why you can’t find out anything about him,” his brother Eric Paddock had told investigators and the media from his home in Florida. And while neighbors described Paddock as friendly, he wasn’t close to them.
As for what triggered the massacre, the brother said, “Something happened that drove him into the pit of hell.”
Paddock also had no known criminal history. Public records contained no indication of any financial problems, and his brother described him as a wealthy real estate investor.
While Paddock had a passion for high-stakes gambling at Nevada casinos, his game of choice was video poker, a relatively solitary pursuit with no dealer and no humans to play against.
The room where he was found dead, which goes for more than $500 a night, was even given to him for free as he was a good customer who wagered tens of thousands of dollars each time he visited the casino, reports said.
Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said it’s difficult to believe Paddock acted alone in the attack, adding he couldn’t a single person would be able to handle all the ammunition and explosives found his possession at the time he was found.
Lombardo said Wednesday that Paddock had 1,600 rounds of ammunition and several containers of an explosive commonly used in target shooting that totaled 50 pounds (23 kilograms) in his car. But it wasn’t clear what, if anything, Paddock planned with the explosives, he said.
Paddock had even set up surveillance cameras in his room to see if anyone was approaching from outside, and apparently even had an escape plan, Lombardo said.
Lombardo declined to say what led authorities to believe he planned an escape.
The previous weekend, Paddock had rented a high-rise condo in a building that overlooked the Life is Beautiful alternative music festival featuring Chance the Rapper, Muse, Lorde and Blink-182, said Lombardo, who offered no other details about what led Paddock there, according to the report from the Associated Press.
On Sept. 28, the 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and real estate investor checked into Mandalay Bay and specifically requested an upper-floor room with a view of the Route 91 Harvest music festival, according to a person who has seen hotel records turned over to investigators.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump met privately with victims at a Las Vegas hospital Wednesday and then with police officers and dispatchers, praising them and the doctors who treated the wounded.
“Our souls are stricken with grief for every American who lost a husband or a wife, a mother or a father, a son or a daughter,” he said. “We know that your sorrow feels endless. We stand together to help you carry your pain.”