An Arizona man named in court documents as a ‘person of interest’ during the investigation of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history said Tuesday he had met the shooter one time and sold ammunition to him.
Speaking at his suburban home in Mesa to the Associated Press, Douglas Haig claims he had no idea what Paddock was planning.
‘I am the guy who sold ammunition to Stephen Paddock,’ the 55-year-old said.
He said he plans to hold a news conference on Friday to answer questions about his name surfacing in the investigation.
Haig went into further detail about his connection to Paddock in an interview with CBS LA and ABC 15.
The man named as a ‘person of interest’ in the Las Vegas shooting is Douglas Haig, who says he sold ammunition to gunman Stephen Paddock
Haig said he met Paddock just once, at a gun show in Phoenix a few weeks before the shooting.
Paddock had tried to connect with Haig at a previous gun show, in Las Vegas, but Haig says the man never ended up coming by his stand.
Haig said a ‘young man’ pointed Paddock out to him and said ‘he wanted to put a deal together’. Haig decided to stay by his stand and let Paddock come to him, but he never did.
‘I said, “well, when he wants to, he’ll come over.” Well, he never did come over,’ Haig said.
Haig says he only met Paddock once, and sold him tracer ammunition. Tracer ammunition makes gunfire light up and is commonly used by hunters at night
Several weeks later, the two finally connected at another gun show in Phoenix.
Haig says that Paddock was looking for tracer ammunition – ammunition that lights up when you fire it and is commonly used by hunters shooting at night.
Haig didn’t have any on him at the show, but he had some back at his home in Mesa, so Paddock met him there.
‘He showed up. He told me exactly what he wanted. I handed him a box with the ammunition in it. He paid me and he left,’ he said.
A law enforcement official told the AP in October that Paddock bought 1,000 rounds of tracer ammunition from a private seller he met at a Phoenix gun show. The official spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to disclose case information. It was not immediately clear if that person was Haig.
Haig was one of about a handful of gun dealers who sold ammo to Paddock.
Paddock killed 59 people and injured hundreds more when he opened fire at a music festival, from a sniper’s nest in the Mandalay Bay hotel on October 1. He killed himself as a SWAT team gathered outside his door
Investigators first sought to question Haig because the Amazon box he recycled to package Paddock’s purchase had his name and address on it and was found in the hotel room Paddock used to carry out the attack.
Haig says there was nothing in Paddock’s behavior that would have hinted at what he was planning.
‘I couldn’t detect anything wrong with this guy. Usually folks that have bad intent…or they say something wrong, or just imply they’re going to do something illegal or against the law, I refuse service.’ he said.
While nothing tipped Haig off to what Paddock was planning, he says he felt so guilty over selling ammunition to the shooter that he closed his side business, Specialized Military Ammunition LLC. The company’s website says it sold tracer and incendiary ammunition but is now ‘closed indefinitely.’ Haig’s main job is at the aerospace firm Honeywell.
Haig also spoke to Newsweek back in October, shortly after he was interviewed by investigators.
‘They asked me a bunch of questions,’ he told the magazine on October 4, ‘and after about 20 minutes they left. Haven’t heard from them since.’
At the time, Haig claimed not to have known Paddock.
‘I have to think that if it was really, really serious or there was something that they thought I did that was wrong, [the agents] would have been kicking my door down,’ Haig said then. At the time, he said he had ‘no link’ to Paddock.
‘I didn’t even know who this guy was,’ he said.
In October, Haig told Newsweek he used to sell ammunition reloading components but hadn’t ‘for a long time’.
Above, a look at some of the hundreds of spent shells in Paddock’s hotel room
Haig says investigators first spoke to him because they found an Amazon box with his name and address on it in Paddock’s hotel room. He says he recycled the box to package from tracer ammunition he sold to Paddock in the weeks before the shooting
More than a dozen firearms were found in Paddock’s hotel room after the shooting
He speculated that Paddock may have had his business card.
‘It could have been a business card from a year ago, two years ago, who knows?’ he said. ‘He might have had one of my cards and wrote something on the back of it that they found in his house.’
Haig appeared worried for his family after the shooting.
‘I have a family to take care of and feed,’ he said, adding: ‘I’ve been interviewed, and that’s as far as it went. They were following up on a lead, and obviously it went nowhere.’
Haig’s name emerged by mistake Tuesday when court documents were released nearly four months after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The documents did not disclose why authorities considered Haig a person of interest in the shooting.
Police officials did not respond to telephone, text and email messages about Haig from AP. FBI and U.S. attorney’s office spokeswomen in Las Vegas declined to comment.
The documents show that early in the investigation, police believed Paddock must have had help.
Above, a look at the Las Vegas Village where Paddock rained down bullets on October 1
Bodies are removed from the concert venue en masse the day after the shooting
‘Given the magnitude of the incident, it is reasonable to believe multiple suspects and months of planning were involved in this premeditated massacre,’ said one search warrant request submitted to a judge nine days after the shooting stopped.
However, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo released a preliminary report on January 19 saying police and the FBI believe Paddock acted alone before he killed himself as police closed in.
It did not answer the key question: What made Paddock stockpile a cache of assault-style weapons and fire for about 10 minutes out the windows of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino into a crowd of 22,000 people.
Haig’s name was blacked out in the more than 270 pages of search warrant records released by a Nevada judge to The Associated Press, but remained on one page of documents provided to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The newspaper published the name online. Clark County District Court Judge Elissa Cadish later ordered the full document not be published without redactions, but she acknowledged she couldn’t order the newspaper to retract the name.
Authorities previously said an unnamed person could face unspecified federal charges in shooting that also injured more than 800 other people.
The warrants show that investigators found 23 rifles and a handgun in Paddock’s 32nd-floor hotel suite and an adjoining room. Police also found five suitcases, five rifle cases, binoculars, a spotter scope, portable solar generator and 1,050 empty bullet casings.
Police reported finding just $273 in cash in the room of the 64-year-old retired accountant who amassed a millionaire’s fortune, owned homes in Reno and Mesquite, Nevada, and earned casino perks wagering thousands of dollars on high-stakes video poker.
Authorities previously characterized Paddock as a gambler on a losing streak who was obsessed with cleanliness, may have been bipolar and was having difficulties with his live-in girlfriend.
The name of Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, was not redacted from documents released Tuesday in response to a public records lawsuit filed by media companies including AP and the Review-Journal.
Danley was in the Philippines at the time of the attack and is cooperating with investigators.
She was initially considered a person of interest but authrorities later said she is not likely to face criminal charges.
Separately, Clark County District Court Judge Timothy Williams ruled Tuesday that the coroner in Las Vegas should release autopsy records of Paddock and the people killed by gunfire, with victims’ names blacked out. Those documents were not immediately made public.
County Coroner John Fudenberg later released a statement later promising victims’ autopsy reports ‘as soon as possible.’ But Paddock’s autopsy report was not final and would not be released until it is, the coroner said.
Fudenberg maintains the records are confidential, and restricts release to families and to police investigating deaths. The coroner and county attorneys didn’t immediately say whether they would appeal Williams’ ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Margaret McLetchie, an attorney representing AP and the Review-Journal in the autopsies case, noted in court that Nevada state public records law does not directly address autopsies and that a deceased person has no legal right to privacy.
In Nevada, records are public unless the law says otherwise, she said.