Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock had lost a large portion of his wealth over the last two years thanks to mounting gambling losses and real estate deals, which the local sheriff speculates might have driven him to violence.
In an interview with local news station KLAS Wednesday night, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said that Paddock, a millionaire property investor with a passion for high-stakes gambling on video poker machines, hit a rough patch in his finances beginning in September 2015.
‘I think that might have a determining factor on what he determined to do,’ Lombardo said.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (left) says he thinks Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock’s money problems might have driven him to violence
The sheriff said that while Paddock was a ‘pretty prolific’ gambler, his financial records indicate that ‘he was going in the wrong direction.’
CNN reported last month that in 2014, Paddock bought a 2,000-square-foot ranch-style home in Mesquite, Nevada, paying nearly $370,000 in cash for the property.
Over the years, he amassed a portfolio of nine homes, apartments and condominiums in Florida, Texas, California and Reno, Nevada.
Lombardo also said that because of his flagging fortunes, the retired accountant who reportedly gambled $1million a year was concerned about his standing at casinos and with his friends and family.
‘Obviously, that was starting to decline in a short period of time, and that may have a determining effect on why he decided to do what he did,’ Lombardo said.
As local and federal investigators continued looking for a motive behind the October 1 massacre that left 58 dead and more than 500 others wounded, Lombardo said he was eagerly awaiting the results of a neuropathological examination of Paddock’s brain tissue, hoping that it would help answer the question: ‘why?’
During the interview, Lombardo also talked about Paddock’s girlfriend, suggesting that she might be withholding information from investigators.
Marilou Danley has feigned ignorance of her boyfriend’s plans to kill dozens at the Route 91 Music Festival last month.
While that may be true, Lombardo said, he finds it suspicious that Danley hasn’t offered any information about why her boyfriend suddenly started amassing a massive arsenal of weapons.
Danley was in the Philippines when Paddock went on his rampage – shooting at hundreds of concertgoers below from his room in the Mandalay Bay hotel (above)
In the days before the shooting, Paddock wired his girlfriend $100,000. She says she thought he was breaking up with her. Above, the mess left at the music festival when the panicked concertgoers fled for their lives
‘There is a lot of people that have hundreds and hundreds of guns, but for this individual to do it at a certain point in time and to do it all with such robust action, you would think that Ms. Danley would have some information associated with that,’ he said. ‘But currently we haven’t been able to pull that out of her, if it’s in her.’
‘It could have been prevented on many levels,’ he added. ‘Marilou Danley, his brother, anybody that may have had some modicum of information that would have presented this individual’s state of mind, but apparently right now we don’t know that.’
Lombardo revealed that Danley will be interviewed again this week.
Danley was out of the country when Paddock carried out the attack, visiting family in the Philippines on a plane ticket her boyfriend bought her at the last minute.
She has said that she thought Paddock was breaking up with her when he sent her to the Philippines, and then wired her $100,000 a few days before the attack.
She immediately returned to the U.S. after the attack to be interviewed by law enforcement.
‘There is a lot of people that have hundreds and hundreds of guns, but for this individual to do it at a certain point in time and to do it all with such robust action, you would think that Ms. Danley (left) would have some information associated with that,’ Lombardo said. ‘But currently we haven’t been able to pull that out of her, if it’s in her.’ Paddock pictured right