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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, October 20, 2017

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Vegas massacre: Stephen Paddock, the man who murdered dozens

Brutality of it all was visible on the faces

Share on Facebook October 3, 2017, Reporter : BNN, Reader : 66

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LAS VEGAS, U.S. - The man who led the shocking massacre of music fans gathered at an outdoor country music concert near the Mandalay Bay Resort on the Las Vegas Strip sent chills down every American’s spine on Monday.

The brutality of it all was visible on the faces of the many who tried to make their escape and the police officers who hunted for the man. 

In the initial moments of the incident, the police rushed to deal with a shooting incident - the true magnitude of the attack would come to the fore several hours later. 

However, while the police initially revealed the gunman was dead - hours later, they revealed his identity.

Police identified the gunman as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, describing him as a retiree who loved to gamble and who lived with his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62.

The man, who checked into a suite at a Las Vegas hotel, reportedly lived in a quiet retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada - about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

His relatives and neighbours spoke to the media, claiming that in his community, Paddock and his companion drew little attention to themselves.

They added that Paddock had not displayed strong political or ideological beliefs in their interactions with him.

However, once the police revealed his identity as the gunman who opened fire on innocent music fans, killing nearly 60 of them and leaving at least 500 others injured - those that knew the man, were beyond shocked.

Commenting on the revelation, his brother, Orland-based Eric Paddock, said he and his family were “shocked, horrified” by the news.

He said Paddock was “not an avid gun guy.” 

He added in an interview with CBS News that he knew his brother had handguns, but that as far as he knew, Paddock did not own “machine guns.”

The gunman’s brother said, “Where the hell did he get automatic weapons? He has no military background or anything like that. When you find out about him, like I said, he’s a guy who lived in a house in Mesquite and drove down and gambled in Las Vegas.”

He added that he last communicated with his brother when Stephen inquired about how the family had fared during Hurricane Irma, which struck Florida in September.

Eric Paddock also told reporters, “He texted me to ask about my mom after the hurricane. He sent her a walker.”

His brother also described Paddock as a wealthy guy who liked to play video poker and take cruises.

He added, “He didn’t have active employment. His life is an open book. It’s all in the public record. He went to college, he had a job. You’ll find out.”

Further, Paddock’s ex-wife, who now lives near Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles police that they had divorced 27 years ago after being married six years and had no children.

Some reports also revealed that Paddock’s father, Benjamin Patrick Paddock was convicted in 1961 of committing a series of bank robberies.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and escaped from La Tuna federal prison in 1968.

Through most of the 1970s, he was also on the FBI’s “Top Ten” most wanted list.

Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of Clark County, which includes Las Vegas said at a press conference that Paddock was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot in his room on the 32nd floor of the hotel. 

Authorities also revealed that at least 10 guns were found in the hotel room, including several rifles.

Sheriff Lombardo described Paddock as a “lone wolf” and said he had smashed the window of the hotel with a hammer-like device before starting to fire on the crowd.

He added, “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point. It wasn’t evident that he had weapons in his room. It has been determined that he had employees going to and fro from his room, and nothing nefarious was noticed.”

Later in the day, as investigations proceeded, Christopher Sullivan, general manager of a gun store in Mesquite, Guns & Guitars was reportedly contacted by the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

He reportedly confirmed that Paddock bought three guns at his shop within the last year and described him as seeming like “a normal fellow, a normal guy — nothing out of the ordinary.”

He pointed out that the suspect bought a handgun and two rifles from his store, but declined to provide detailed descriptions of the guns. 

Sullivan said that all the purchases were legal and cleared routine federal screening.

Speaking about Paddock, he said, “The man does not have a criminal history” and said the gunman described himself as a “snowbird” because he spent half the year in northern Nevada.

He added, “We have cooperated with local and federal authorities.”

Sullivan said, “As for what goes on in a person’s mind, I couldn’t tell you. I know nothing about him personally.”

As the day proceeded, the Islamic State militant group claimed the attack and said that Paddock was one of its soldiers.

ISIS did not provide any evidence to support its claim and the FBI has said there was no evidence so far that Paddock had ties to any international terrorist organization.

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that Paddock had a private pilot’s license.

He also is revealed to have had two small single-engine planes registered in his name. 

There are no records of Paddock having served in the military.

In a brief statement from the White House, President Donald Trump called for national unity, offered condolences to the families of the victims, and hailed the actions of law enforcement.

 

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