News, Culture & Society

Las Vegas gunman had sixteen guns in ten suitcases

The man who shot dead 59 people and injured 527 others in Las Vegas on Monday night was a multimillionaire gambling addict whose massacre had been planned long in advance, it has emerged.

Stephen Paddock, 64, would regularly flit to Las Vegas from his home in Mesquite, around 90 minutes away, to gamble away large sums in high-stakes video poker, his brother said.

But on Thursday he checked into the Mandalay Bay Resort with a grimmer plan – one that police are just now coming to grips with, as they uncover the weapons he had stockpiled.

In fact, it emerged on Monday that he had moved 16 guns – two with tripods – up to his Mandalay Bay room in 10 suitcases prior to the shooting, and had even more, along with bombs, in his nearby home.

Stephen Paddock, who lived in a retirement community, mowed down hundreds of victims in a hail of gunfire at the end of a Las Vegas country music festival

PICTURED: The man suspected of killing over 50 people and injuring 200 when he opened fire on concertgoers Sunday night has been identified as Stephen Paddock (Paddock above in undated handout from his brother Eric)

PICTURED: The man suspected of killing over 50 people and injuring 200 when he opened fire on concertgoers Sunday night has been identified as Stephen Paddock (Paddock above in undated handout from his brother Eric)

Paddock had apparently lived a quiet and unremarkable life.

The retired accountant had worked as an internal auditor at Lockheed Martin for three years in the late 1980s, and was a manager and investor in apartment complexes located in Mesquite, Texas and California, which made him millions, according to his brother. 

Local police said they had no run-ins with the man, not even traffic violations, and his brother described him as ‘just a guy who lived in Mesquite who drove down and gambled in Las Vegas and… liked burritos.’

So the discovery that he had used 10 suitcases to methodically move an arsenal up into his Mandalay Bay room over the preceding weekend came as a shock to those who knew him.

Eric Paddock said he thought his brother had only owned a couple of handguns, which he kept in a safe.

He certainly didn’t know about the 16 guns found in the hotel room – some of which had scopes, and two of which had tripods – he said.

Mystery: Paddock (above with Marilou Danley) was 'not an avid gunman' and 'has no military background'

Mystery: Paddock (above with Marilou Danley) was ‘not an avid gunman’ and ‘has no military background’

A law enforcement source told the Wall Street Journal that they found at least one fully automatic rifle among the batch, which included AR-15-style rifles and AK-47-style rifles. 

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said on Monday it wasn’t clear whether the gun was modified to make it fully automatic, or if it was originally made that way.

Eric said the revelation of his brother’s deadly plan, which saw thousands of rounds falling on a crowd of 22,000 people at a music festival below, was as unexpected as seeing a meteor suddenly landing on his street.

The shocks only grew in number Monday as police raided two of Paddock’s properties. 

The first was his Mesquite home in a sleepy retirement community, which he purchased for just over $369,000 in 2015 according to public records.

What they found was a second arsenal, even bigger than the one in the Mandalay Bay room.

Some 18 additional firearms were in the house, along with the explosive Tannerite – which is used to make explosive targets for target practice – and several thousand rounds of ammunition, Lombardo said Monday.

He added that electronic devices were also found, but that they are still being examined to determine their purpose.

Police also found the fertilizer ammonium nitrate – which can be used to make bombs – in Paddock’s car in Las Vegas.

A SWAT team was also poised to raid a second property owned by Paddock in Reno on Monday.  Bomb experts were on hand, due to concerns over booby traps.

Police have not yet revealed what, if anything, they found there.

Although ISIS have repeatedly attempted to claim credit for the shooting, saying Paddock had recently converted to Islam, he was not religious, his brother said.

He also had no Army training, nor expressed any particular interest in guns, according to Eric, who admitted that he had not spoken much with his brother over the last year.

Home: Paddock, 64, lived just 90 minutes outside Las Vegas in the city of Mesquite (above circled in red) , where he bough a home in a retirement community back in 2015

Home: Paddock, 64, lived just 90 minutes outside Las Vegas in the city of Mesquite (above circled in red) , where he bough a home in a retirement community back in 2015

First look: He lived at the $400,000 property (above after the police search on Monday) with Marilou Danley, 62, the same woman police were seeking to locate in the wake of the shooting

First look: He lived at the $400,000 property (above after the police search on Monday) with Marilou Danley, 62, the same woman police were seeking to locate in the wake of the shooting

Possible clues: Paddock had hunting and fishing licenses as was as his pilot's license, and may have worked at Lockheed Martin as an auditor according to public records (authorities block of a perimeter around Paddock's home early Monday)

Possible clues: Paddock had hunting and fishing licenses as was as his pilot’s license, and may have worked at Lockheed Martin as an auditor according to public records (authorities block of a perimeter around Paddock’s home early Monday)

Paddock had both hunting and fishing licenses according to public records, as well as his pilot’s license, but no criminal record in the state of Nevada.

Only his gambling habit stood out as unusual; Stephen would play $100 hands of video poker, and ‘once texted me a picture that he won $40,000 on a slot machine,’ Eric said.

Neighbors at one of his properties in Florida said that they had barely talked to him – that he gave them keys to check on the property, and would only turn up every three months or so.

When he did, they said, he would rarely be seen because he stayed up late at night playing poker online.

Law enforcement officials said that in recent weeks he had made a number of transactions in Las Vegas that were in the tens of thousands of dollars.

On some days he spent more than $30,000, and on others more than $20,000, according to an individual who had seen Paddock’s Multiple Currency Transaction Reports.

It’s not known whether he made money back on any recent bets or lost it.

Paddock lived in Mesquite with his 62-year-old girlfriend Marilou Danley. She was initially named a person of interest in the shooting, because she appeared to have checked into the hotel with him. 

But when police called her, they found out she has been out of the country and that Paddock had used her ID to check into the hotel.

They no longer believe she had anything to do with the massacre, but plan to interview when she returns to the US. 

A friend told the Reno Gazette-Journal that Danley is in the Phillipines, but Lombardo said Monday afternoon she is believed to be in Tokyo, Japan.

Paddock was also the son of Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, a serial bank robber who ended up on the FBI Most Wanted list back in 1969 when he escaped from federal prison in Texas while serving a 20 years sentence.

The FBI kept him on the list for the next eight years, and he was eventually found one year after he was removed from the list in 1978 while outside an Oregon Bingo hall.

The agency said that the fugitive had been ‘diagnosed as psychopathic’ and also had possible ‘suicidal tendencies.’ 

Dad: Paddock's father was a serial bank robber who was 'diagnosed as psychopathic' and spent eight years on the FBI Most Wanted list after escaping prison (Benjamin Paddock's FBI flyer above)

Dad: Paddock’s father was a serial bank robber who was ‘diagnosed as psychopathic’ and spent eight years on the FBI Most Wanted list after escaping prison (Benjamin Paddock’s FBI flyer above)

Gunman’s perch: Images of the Mandalay Bay Resort show two windows blown out on the 32nd floor of the building (above)

Paddock had committed suicide by the time police breached the door to the room from which the gunman had opened fire at the Mandalay Bay Resort just after 10pm on Sunday night. 

It marked the end of what has now become the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, which left at least 58 dead and 515 injured.

The attack played out as Jason Aldean performed on stage to close out the third and final day of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, which was taking place across the street from the resort.

Over 22,000 people were in attendance at the event, and described the attack as ‘nonstop gunfire,’ which only stopped when the gunman went to reload his weapon. 

It is not yet known what weapon or weapons the gunman used in the attack.

Police said in a press conference early Monday that that they discovered in ‘excess of 10 rifles’ in the room, and that Paddock’s death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

Law enforcement officials said on Monday that the suspected gunman appears to have acted alone in the attack, despite early reports that stated there may have been multiple shooters on the scene.

Images of the Mandalay Bay Resort taken after the attack show two large windows on the 32nd floor of the building completely blown out. 

Paddock had been staying there since last Thursday, arriving on September 28 to the hotel. 

Multiple sources who knew Paddock in recent years also revealed on Monday that he spent a good deal of his time gambling, with law enforcement officials stating that in recent weeks he made a number of transactions in Las Vegas that were in the tens of thousands of dollars.

On some days he spent over $30,000, and on others over $20,000 according to an individual who had seen Paddock’s Multiple Currency Transaction Reports.

That source told NBC News that it was unclear however at this time if those transactions were wins or loses for Paddock. 

His two favorite things about his new home in Nevada were that it kept him close to the gambling and music scene on The Strip, with country shows a favorite for the suspected gunman. 

It was not all good time for Paddock though, as he previously filed a lawsuit against Cosmopolitan Hotels & Resorts in 2012 following an incident that occurred at their Las Vegas casino.

Paddock spent two years in court fighting his case after submitting his initial complaint citing ‘Negligence – Premises Liability.’

It was ultimately dismissed with prejudice in late 2014, and exact details of the case were not available on the Clark County Courts website.

Vantage point: A look at one of the Mandalay Bay Resort corner rooms (above) similar to the one where the suspected gunman launched his attack

Vantage point: A look at one of the Mandalay Bay Resort corner rooms (above) similar to the one where the suspected gunman launched his attack

Lengthy stay: Paddock checked into the hotel on Thursday, September 28, using his girlfriend's ID according to sources (view of The Strip from corner room window)

Lengthy stay: Paddock checked into the hotel on Thursday, September 28, using his girlfriend’s ID according to sources (view of The Strip from corner room window)

His Mesquite home was searched by officials early Monday, who closed off a large perimeter around the Nevada property to keep the public and media at bay.

That search was completed by early afternoon, at which point police said they would be executing a warrant on one of Paddock’s northern Nevada properties.

Photos of the Mesquite property showed the garage door torn off its hinge and appearing crumpled in front of the house after the search, which yielded more weapons and ammunition according to authorities. 

Paddock purchased a parcel of land and an apartment in Reno a few years before buying his Mesquite home, though he appears to have sold them both in recent years.

In total, Paddock had lived in an astonishing 27 residences in Nevada, Florida and Texas over the course of his adult life.

Authorities said that Danley is not believed to have been an accomplice in the attack after locating her outside the country in the Philippines.

She was married in 1990 to Geary Danley and there is no record of a divorce between the two, while Paddock divorced his wife 27 years ago.

Peggy Paddock, 63, lives in a two-story townhouse in Cerritos, about 30 mies south east of Los Angeles, where she stayed inside on Monday, too stunned to talk about the Vegas horror.

Outside her home, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Sgt. Cort Bishop told DailyMail.com that Peggy was married to Stephen for 6 years but divorced him 27 years ago. 

’She is as shocked and surprised as everybody else by what happened in Vegas,’ said Sgt. Bishop.

He went on to say that Peggy has no children with her ex and ‘has had no contact with him for many years.’

Sgt. Bishop added that Peggy has been in a relationship with her current boyfriend for 20 years and that he did not know why she kept her ex-husband’s name after the divorce.

Paddock married Peggy after the collapse of his first marriage to Sharon Brunoehler, who he was married to in the 1970s and 80s while living in California.  

No clues: 'He¿s just a guy who lived in Mesquite who liked burritos,' said Eric Paddock (above) of his brother, who he noted had no 'political' or 'religious' ties

No clues: ‘He’s just a guy who lived in Mesquite who liked burritos,’ said Eric Paddock (above) of his brother, who he noted had no ‘political’ or ‘religious’ ties

Other Mesquite: Paddock managed an apartment complex in Mesquite, Texas (above)

Other Mesquite: Paddock managed an apartment complex in Mesquite, Texas (above)

Paddock used Danley’s ID when he checked himself into the hotel according to a source with knowledge of the investigation, despite the fact that she was not with him during his stay.  

Police were also on the lookout for two motor vehicles in the wake of the attack which they have also since located. 

Paddock and Danley live in a upscale community that includes an 18-hole golf course, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a recreation center with gym.

Ex-wife: Paddock was married to Peggy (above) for six years before the two divorced 27 years ago

Ex-wife: Paddock was married to Peggy (above) for six years before the two divorced 27 years ago

Residents must be over the age of 55 and no children are allowed to live in the development of over 1,000 homes. 

In addition to his pricey Nevada property, Paddock was also the owner of two planes, and according to the FAA records was certified as a private pilot back in 2003.

His address on that 2003 certification is listed as Mesquite, Texas, where he lived for in a $200,000 home for 12 years from 1998 to 2010.

Records do not show him owning or living at any home however between 2010 and 2012, when he moved to Reno after two decades in Texas.  

Police have not said at this time whether or not Paddock had ties to any domestic or foreign terror groups, but he is not believe to have any connections per multiple sources including his brother.

ISIS meanwhile claimed responsibility for the attack early Monday, saying the gunman was a recent convert to Islam. 

That claims was quickly discredited by multiple officials, who stated that there is no evidence to support that allegation.

On the scene: Paddock had no criminal record in the state of Nevada and officials said at a press conference early Monday that they are still looking into his possible motive (law enforcement arriving on the scene of the shooting Sunday night)

On the scene: Paddock had no criminal record in the state of Nevada and officials said at a press conference early Monday that they are still looking into his possible motive (law enforcement arriving on the scene of the shooting Sunday night)

Former community: Paddock owned a home in a Florida retirement community (above) for two years between 2013 and 2015, but only visited a handful of times

Former community: Paddock owned a home in a Florida retirement community (above) for two years between 2013 and 2015, but only visited a handful of times

In an interview on Monday morning, Eric Paddock spoke about how shocked he was to learn that his brother was the suspected gunman.

Eric said that his brother was ‘not an avid gunman’ and ‘has no military background’ while speaking with CBSN, adding that he had no idea how he might have been able to obtain automatic weapons. 

‘He had a couple of guns but they were all handgun, legal…he might have had one long gun, but he had them in a safe,’ explained Eric.

Eric stated later in that same interview: ‘His life is an open book. It’s all in public record. Once again, there is nothing. He went to college. He had a job.’

He also said that his brother had ‘no religious affiliation, no political affiliation,’ adding: ‘He just hung out.’

Danley meanwhile was a nice woman who baked cookies for her mother-in-law said Eric, who conducted the interview outside his Florida home.

Protect: Los Angeles Sheriff¿s Sgt. Cort Bishop (above) kept watch over the home of Paddock's ex-wife Peggy on Monday

Protect: Los Angeles Sheriff’s Sgt. Cort Bishop (above) kept watch over the home of Paddock’s ex-wife Peggy on Monday

Eric did admit that he and his brother do not speak often on account of the fact that they live on opposite coasts, but did share a recent text he received from his brother, asking how their 90-year-old mother was holding up in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

He closed out the interview by saying of his brother: ‘He’s just a guy who lived in Mesquite who liked burritos.’ 

During that interview Eric also made mention of the fact that his brother would often go to Las Vegas to gamble, and that Danley worked in one of the hotels as a hostess. 

In an interview with Florida Today, two former neighbors of Paddock also spoke about his gambling, saying he would stay up all night with Danley placing bets.

‘He seemed normal, other than that he lived by gambling. He was very open about that,’ revealed Sharon Judy. 

‘First time we ever met him, he handed us the key to the house and said, “Hey, would keep an eye on the house, we’re only going to be here every now and then.”‘

Judy lived next door to Paddock in Melbourne, Florida, where he and Danley had a home from 2013 through 2015 that they only visited a handful of times according to their neighbor. 

That home was located at Heritage Isle in Viera, another retirement community that only admitted residents over the age of 55.

Paddock bought his Mesquite, Nevada home at around the same time that he sold the Florida property.  

Northern Nevada: Paddock purchased a parcel of land in Reno back in 2012 that he sold earlier this year (above) after putting a house on the property

Northern Nevada: Paddock purchased a parcel of land in Reno back in 2012 that he sold earlier this year (above) after putting a house on the property

Complex: The same year he bought the parcel of land, Paddock also bought an apartment in Reno (building above)

Complex: The same year he bought the parcel of land, Paddock also bought an apartment in Reno (building above)

The husband of Stephen’s niece Nicole also commented on the attack, posting his thoughts on Facebook Monday morning.

‘I really don’t know what to say here. We’ve known Stephen Paddock for years. He was my wife’s uncle who we saw once every few years at family gatherings,’ wrote Luius Wiedemann.

‘We have no clue, none whatsoever, on why he would do such a thing. We don’t know anything more than what the LVMPD knows about Stephen. In fact it’s been more than a year since we’ve been in contact with him.

‘We are still trying to process the information coming our way and field all of the media that have been knocking/messaging/calling us non stop. 

‘We ask that you grant us some privacy while we digest the fact that this happened and more so that a member of our family was involved.’

He went on to write: ‘I implore everyone arguing online to turn off the screen and hug your loved ones as much as possible today. No amount of bickering online will bring these folks back to their families and loved ones.’

Wiedemann then closed out his post by saying: ‘Again, I cannot express how truly awful we feel for everyone involved. Our hearts go out to the families who lost their loved ones and to those injured in this unimaginable tragedy.’

Nicole later posted her own response to the attack on her Facebook account. 

‘First off I want to express my deepest sympathies to everyone affected by this massacre, I am as shocked and appalled as anyone about this senseless act of violence,’ wrote Nicole.

‘It has been especially disheartening to find out that the perpetrator is a relative. Stephen Paddock was my uncle, but I did not know very much about him. 

‘Sometimes I would see him in Las Vegas when I was there visiting other family, but these encounters were casual and infrequent. 

‘It has been well over a year since I have had any contact with him. I cannot speak to what possibly motivates someone to do something like this nor what his specific motivations may have been. He never came across as religious or political.

‘My family and I are still in shock by this news and my heart goes out to all of those who lost or had loved ones injured in this tragedy. I am at a loss for words

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk