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Before Las Vegas Shooting, Gunman Stephen Paddock Was Settling Into Retirement

Stephen Paddock was a peaceful man who moved back to Nevada, where gambling is legal, partly because of his fondness for video poker, said his brother Eric.

Reuters

Updated:October 2, 2017, 11:55 PM IST
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Before Las Vegas Shooting, Gunman Stephen Paddock Was Settling Into Retirement
Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock (INSET). Las Vegas Metro Police officers gather near the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, US on October 2, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus)
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Las Vegas: At first glance, it seemed Stephen Paddock, 64, was set for a quiet life in a retirement community in Mesquite, amid the red desert hills of Nevada where he had bought a new home in 2015 near his beloved casinos.

From there, it was only an hour's drive to Las Vegas, where embarked Sunday on the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history before killing himself.

His brother, Eric Paddock, said he was a peaceful man who moved back to Nevada, where gambling is legal, partly because of his fondness for video poker.

"He's never drawn his gun, it makes no sense," Paddock said from his doorstep in Orlando, Florida. His brother had a couple of handguns he kept in a safe, perhaps a long rifle, "but no automatic weapons."

Eric Paddock said he had helped his brother move away from Central Florida's humidity to Nevada. The two were last in touch last month, texting about power outages after Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida.

Their father was Patrick Benjamin Paddock, a violent bank robber who was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most Wanted list in the 1960s, NBC News reported.

The shooter himself had no criminal record apart from a traffic violation, police in Las Vegas said.

A former neighbor named Sharon Judy in Viera, Florida, told the Orlando Sentinel that Stephen Paddock was a friendly man who said he was a professional gambler. He had shown her a picture of him after he won a $20,000 slot-machine jackpot, she said.

In recent weeks, Paddock made gambling transactions worth tens of thousands of dollars, though it was unclear whether they were wins or losses, NBC News reported, citing unnamed law enforcement officials.

Eric Paddock
Eric Paddock, brother of Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock, speaks to members of the media near his home on Monday in Orlando. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

'NOTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY'

Public records point to an itinerant existence across the American West and Southeast: A few years in California, a few years in other parts of Nevada.

Paddock had a hunting license in Texas, where he lived for a while. He got his pilot license, and had at least one single-engine aircraft registered in his name.

In early 2015, he bought a modest two-story home in a new housing development for retirees on the dusty edge of Mesquite, a small desert town popular with golfers and gamblers that straddles the Nevada border with Arizona.

"It's a nice, clean home and nothing out of the ordinary," Quinn Averett, a Mesquite police department spokesman, told reporters on Monday. Some guns and ammunition were found inside, though nothing remarkable in a region where gun ownership is high.

An hour's drive southwest is Las Vegas, where Paddock checked into a 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino last Thursday with at least 10 rifles for a shooting spree that would kill least 58 people and hurt more than 500.

The FBI said he had no connection with international militant groups.

Before moving to Mesquite, Nevada, he lived in another town called Mesquite in Texas, where he worked as the manager of an apartment complex called Central Park.

Records as recent as 2015 list Paddock as single, though it appears he may have married while living in California in the 1980s. Police and public records said he lived with Marilou Danley in the Nevada retirement community. Police said she had no connection with the attack, CNN reported.
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