Stephen Paddock is the gunman responsible for the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas leaving more than 59 people dead and over 500 injured. But what do we know about him and can it can help us understand his motivation to commit such a terrible act?
Paddock had no criminal history. He purchased guns in various states where his background was checked and all letters of the law were followed. He was a casino high roller, reportedly a multi-millionaire who was kept to himself and did not appear to be involved in religious activities. 64-year-old Paddock was a divorced man with a girlfriend who had no children.
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Stephen Paddock had a pilot's license which requires mental and criminal checks, he had owned two planes. He was a former accountant for a contractor that worked with Lockheed Martin many years ago before he took to the full time real estate investing and high stakes gambling lifestyle in Nevada. He lived in a retirement community in Mesquite, NV where police who searched his house said there was nothing out of the ordinary, noting only that he had a decent cache of weapons and ammunition.
The only thing of note, other than his father's criminal history, is that Paddock is reported to have made a few large gambling transactions recently. While this may seem odd to most, as a known high stakes gambler, these type of transactions are generally considered par for the course.
One of Stephen Paddock's brother was questioned by reporters outside his home in Orlando, FL. The brother, Eric Paddock, said that authorities will not find anything outstanding as they look into Paddock's life. He said that he was a multi-millionaire real estate investor who enjoyed traveling to Las Vegas to play high stakes video poker. He said his brother was just a guy who stayed at hotels and liked to try his luck gambling. The last contact he had with his brother when he phoned asking about the welfare of his parents following Hurricane Irma.
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Reporters also got in contact with Stephen Paddock's other brother, Bruce Paddock who resides in California. He echoed a lot of what Eric Paddock had to say about the life, demeanor and what they knew of his life. But he also had something a little more shocking to add to the mix.
Stephen Paddock's father, Benjamin Paddock, was a convicted bank robber who spent years on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted list in the 70's. Benjamin Paddock has been described as a psychopath with suicidal tendencies.
Stephen Paddock was described by a lawyer who deposed him previously regarding a lawsuit that Paddock brought against their hotel, as a kind of a messy, bizarre dressing character, but not someone who would stand out in a crowd.
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Eric Paddock seemed to resist the notion put forth by reporters that his brother might have been somehow influenced by, or had been emulating his father's criminal tendencies. He said that he had no explanation to that and added that he was simply his brother and that he is absolutely dumbfounded how he could have done this.