Police have identified Stephen Paddock as the suspected gunman in an attack at a Las Vegas music festival Sunday night that became the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The 64-year-old gunman opened fire on the outdoor Route 91 Harvest country music festival from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, which sits at the southern end of the Las Vegas strip. The attack, which authorities said on Tuesday lasted for 9 minutes, killed at least 59 people and injured 527 others.
SWAT teams found Paddock dead in the hotel room with 23 guns, some of which had scopes, Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Monday. He said police also found 19 additional firearms, explosives and several thousand rounds of ammunition at Paddock’s house in Mesquite. While authorities are still determining the motive behind the attach, police said on Tuesday the shooting was premeditated. Paddock had set up cameras inside and outside of his hotel room, Lombardo said on Tuesday. “I anticipate he was looking for anybody coming to take him into custody,” he said.
A retired accountant who frequently gambled at the casinos in Las Vegas, the mass shooter was the son of a bank robber who had appeared on the FBI’s most wanted list, the suspect’s brother said in a press conference aired Monday on CNN.
Late Monday afternoon, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and detectives were still working to identify the motive of the shooter.
Here’s what we know so far about Stephen Paddock.
Who is Stephen Paddock?
Living 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas in Mesquite, Nev., Stephen Paddock was a 64-year-old, retired accountant who would frequently make trips to the city to gamble, according to his brother.
Paddock was not known to federal authorities, who said they believed he was a “solo actor” and “lone wolf’ in the mass shooting that took the lives of dozens of concertgoers.
In several interviews with media outlets on Monday, the suspect’s brother, Eric Paddock, said his family was stunned by the horrific act his brother committed, telling reporters that Stephen was not affiliated with any extreme political, religious or white supremacist organizations to his knowledge.
“He was my brother and it’s like an asteroid fell out of the sky,” Eric Paddock said on CNN.
“The fact that he had those kind of weapons is just — where the hell did he get automatic weapons?” Eric Paddock told CBS News. “He has no military background or anything like that. He’s just a guy who lived in a house in Mesquite, drove down and gambled in Las Vegas.”
Before the shooting, Paddock had been staying in the hotel room since Sept. 29, Lombardo said Monday. “I have no idea whether he prevented the housekeepers from entering the room or not,” he said. “That is a matter for continued investigation.”
Police are looking for a 2017 Hyundai Tucson with Nevada license plate 114B40.
Police had been searching for a female companion named Marilou Danley, who the suspect’s brother says was Paddock’s girlfriend. Authorities said Tuesday she is still a person of interest and she is currently in the Philippines.
What weapons did Stephen Paddock have?
Las Vegas police found 23 guns in Paddock’s hotel room, according to the AP. Authorities also found 19 additional firearms, several thousand rounds of ammunition and explosives at Paddock’s home in Mesquite on Monday.
Citing police sources who requested anonymity because the investigation was still ongoing, AP reports that authorities also discovered two gun stocks, which could have allowed Paddock to modify weapons to make them fully automatic. This would be consistent with recordings and reports of the attack, which suggested automatic fire. Some witnesses said they heard gunfire for at least five minutes.
New Frontier Armory, a gun shop in Northern Las Vegas where Paddock bought several firearms, said in a statement on Tuesday that he had completed state and federal background checks to do so. The weapons, David Famiglietti, president of New Frontier Armory LLC, said, were neither fully automatic nor modified when they were purchased. “My entire staff takes their job very seriously and if there were any ‘red flags’ during this transaction, like any other, it would have been halted immediately,” Famiglietti said in the statement.
Who was Stephen Paddock’s father?
Paddock’s father was a bank robber who appeared on the FBI’s most wanted list, the suspect’s brother told reporters on Monday.
A copy of the most wanted flier, published by CNN, described Benjamin Hoskins Paddock as a “diagnosed as psychopathic” with “reportedly suicidal tendencies.” The flier notes that he carried firearms during bank robberies and “should be considered armed and very dangerous.”
“We didn’t know him,” the suspect’s brother told reporters. “He was in jail.”
The most-wanted ad appears to be published in early 1969.
What was Stephen Paddock’s motive?
Police have not yet identified Paddock’s motive for the massacre.
The sheriff provided no further details on Paddock’s motives in a press conference Monday morning. “We have to establish what his motivation is first,” Lombardo said on Monday morning. “There is motiving factors associated with terrorism other than a distraught person just intending to cause mass casualty. Before we label with that it will be a matter of process.”
Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI hostage negotiator and supervisor in the bureau’s behavioral science unit told AP that Paddock’s profile did not match that of a typical mass murderer: he was much older than is usually the case and was not known to be suffering from mental illness. “My challenge is, I don’t see any of the classic indicators, so far, that would suggest, ‘OK, he’s on the road either to suicide or homicide or both,” Van Zandt said.
But Paddock’s weapon horde and his actions did suggest the mass shooting had been planned at least days in advance, Van Zandt said. “He knew what he wanted to do. He knew how he was going to do it, and it doesn’t seem like he had any kind of escape plan at all,” he added.
ISIS on Monday claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying Paddock was a recent convert to Islam. But the group provided no evidence of that claim. The FBI later denied that Paddock had any connection to the group.