Las Vegas shooting: Police say gunman Stephen Paddock had a ‘secret life’ before massacre

For four days, investigators have pored over the life of Stephen Paddock and for four days, the man who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history has largely remained an enigma.

They have searched Paddock’s homes, scoured his computers, assessed his finances and explored his travel history. So far, they have uncovered a complex web of clues, and no clear answers about why.

In the months before he carried out the Las Vegas massacre, killing 58 people and injuring nearly 500 others, Paddock booked hotel rooms at two other major outdoor music festivals. The reservations were curious for a man who friends and neighbors say was decidedly anti-social, but investigators are now working to determine if they were a significant foreshadowing of things to come, or meaningless travels of someone with the means to fly around the country.

A real estate broker who helped Paddock sell multiple properties in California more than a decade ago said the future gunman expressed dislike for taxes and the government — even selling off a series of buildings in California to move his money to the low-tax havens of Texas and Nevada.

But the agent, who asked not to be identified discussing Paddock, said they never knew Paddock to be political or ideological. A person familiar with the investigation into the massacre said these anti-government views alone didn’t explain why Paddock would head to a 32nd floor suite at the Resort and Casino, break out the windows and open fire into a crowd of unsuspecting citizens.

This much is certain: Paddock, 64, aimed for maximum destruction. He had with him in the suite 23 guns, a dozen of them equipped with bump stocks that would allow for rapid fire, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition that he never fired.

These bump stocks have become a flash point since the shooting, and on Thursday the National Rifle Association — in its first statement since the massacre — echoed others in calling for more regulations on the devices.

Investigators searching Paddock’s car also found several cases containing the chemical tannerite, an explosive, and 1,600 more rounds of ammo.

 

 

Denis G Campbell View more

Denis G Campbell
Denis G. Campbell is founder and editor of UK Progressive magazine and co-host of The Three Muckrakers podcast. He is the author of 7 books and provides Americas, EU and Middle Eastern commentary to the BBC, itv, Al Jazeera English, CNN, CRI, MSNBC and others. He is CEO of Monknash Media and a principal with B2E Consulting in London. You can follow him on Twitter @UKProgressive and on Facebook.

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