Sunday’s tragedy in Las Vegas proves that in the 21st century, a mass shooter can strike nearly anywhere, at any time.
Here are six things you should know about the shooter:
1. Extreme political or religious beliefs apparently were not involved. The gunman was identified as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old retired accountant, real-estate investor, and professional gambler from Mesquite, Nevada. ISIS claimed responsibility, but there is no evidence of any ties. ISIS is known to take credit for tragedies it did not plan.
2. He was not a gun lover, his brother said. Eric Paddock said his brother did not hunt and rarely fired his guns, The Washington Post reported. “He has no military background or anything like that,” he said.
“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.” Details of the gun[s] used have yet to be released, although they sounded like fully automatic weapons.
3. He was wealthy and a high-stakes gambler. Paddock was worth more than $2 million and he formerly worked for a major corporation — defense contractor Lockheed Martin — as an accountant and property manager, a middle-class white collar job that required a college degree and a security clearance. Another brother, Patrick, even attended the U.S. Air Force Academy. During recent years he got involved in gambling, betting several thousand dollars at a time. “He’s a multimillionaire,” Eric Paddock said. “He helped me become affluent, he made me wealthy.”
4. He could be your neighbor. Friends and neighbors were shocked at news of the rampage. The gunman liked to live in retirement communities, and he usually dressed conservatively in khaki pants and a polo shirt, former neighbors said. He rarely flashed his wealth, and lived simply, often driving low-end rental cars.
“When we talked about a month ago, I can’t believe he was planning this,” Eric Paddock said.
Sharon Judy, a former neighbor, told Florida Today, “He seemed normal, other than that he lived by gambling. He was very open about that. First time we ever met him, he handed us the key to the house and said, ‘Hey, would you keep an eye on the house, we’re only going to be here every now and then.’”
5. He had no criminal history. The Mesquite Police Department had no interaction with the shooter. Neither did the Las Vegas police. His only stops by police were for traffic tickets.
6. His father was on the FBI’s most-wanted list. Benjamin Hoskins Paddock was on the list from June 10, 1969 – when he escaped from prison – until May 5, 1977, when he was caught. He died in recent years. He had been in prison for bank robbery. The FBI poster listed the father as “diagnosed as psychopathic” who “carried firearms in commission of bank robberies.”
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