Police haven’t yet discovered the motive behind a retired, supposedly successful accountant’s decision to rain fury on an open-air country music concert in Las Vegas. But the public has learned that the deceased mass murderer with no criminal record loved gambling, and held an affinity for high-stakes video poker.
As Las Vegas comes to grips with the largest mass shooting in US history, the national media and American people seek more information about the personal background and potential motive of Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old retiree living quietly in Mesquite, Nevada, a small casino town on the Nevada-Utah border. Police investigators are continuing to dig for clues about what might have spurred the massacre, and insist that much of the speculation floating around is not supported by evidence.
Paddock was hardly strapped for cash. The home he owned in Mesquite was valued at about $400,000. And his brother, Eric, told reporters in Florida that the shooter was a multimillionaire who liked to gamble as a hobby.
“He was a guy who had money,” Eric Paddock said from his Orlando home. “He went on cruises and gambled.”
The man responsible for the death of 59 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas was hardly a small-time gambler. NBC News reported that Paddock often wagered more than $10,000 in a day, and even spent up to $30,000 on gambling, playing $100 video poker.
How much he won or lost at the machines is currently unknown, or if gambling losses had anything to do with his decision to commit such a heinous crime.
Investigators haven’t discovered many details about the life of Stephen Paddock. But there are people on social media who claim to know his motive, accusing him of being a member of ISIS or a liberal who wanted to kill Donald Trump supporters. The FBI and local police have adamantly said there is no evidence, at least this stage in the investigation, pointing to a politically motivated killing.
They also have refused to fuel speculation by addressing different theories not based on evidence. They insist they have found no link to international terrorism, despite a claim from Islamic State, and the gunman was not known to police.
“I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point,” Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a press conference. He described Paddock as a “lone wolf” and dismissed speculation about the presence of multiple shooters.
He also said he wouldn’t speculate about motivation while still gathering evidence, and that people on social media bandying different conspiracy theories with incomplete or made up information did more harm than good.
(Ahem, Mike Matusow.)
Paddock had no past criminal history. His brother said he was “just a guy” with no kids and always had a good job. He got divorced many years ago and never remarried. Since he was often single, he would regularly go out to the bars alone or travel solo. He also said he was a fan of country music.
Paddock’s father, now deceased, was a career bank robber who escaped from prison and was on the FBI’s most wanted list from 1969-1977.
Eric Paddock said the last time he spoke to his brother was in mid-September, via text, when Stephen inquired about their 90-year-old mother’s health. He said Stephen never showed any signs of being the type who would commit such a violent crime.
“There’s absolutely no way I could conceive that my brother would shoot a bunch of people that he didn’t know,” a confused Paddock said. “Something just incredibly wrong happened to my brother.”