A trove of newly released FBI documents provide further information about the man responsible for the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which killed nearly 60 people in the deadliest shooting in US history, though the information appears to stop short of outlining a definitive motive.
On 1 October, 2017, Stephen Paddock , 64, opened fire from a corner suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort, shooting high-powered weapons into a crowd watching the Route 91 Harvest music festival across the street, injuring hundreds and killing 58 .
Paddock, a professional gambler who frequented casinos in Las Vegas and Nevada, was “very upset at the way casinos were treating him and other high rollers,” one source told the FBI, according to the heavily redacted documents , which were released in response to a records request from the Wall Street Journal .
Previously, the source said that Paddock was a “really nice and personably guy” whom they “would gladly have invited over for dinner,” but speculated the “the stress could easily be what caused Paddock to ‘snap’.”
The documents describe the 64-year-old, who died by suicide, as a high-rolling, skilled gambler, who was “frequently banned from casinos for playing well and winning large quantities of money” and played video poker so he could still net big winnings without facing scrutiny at the poker tables.
The FBI documents capture one source saying Paddock would regularly carry around over $100,000 in cash and give girlfriends gifts of over $25,000 in cash.
Sources told the agency Paddock was “easily able to purchase property and houses with cash.”
In another section, a source describes Paddock as only wanting to talk about gambling, and having stayed for two days at the Tropicana Las Vegas less than a month before the shooting, where he lost $38,000.
One former colleague told the agency Paddock was “mad at the system” and interested in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people.
The findings in the new documents echo the inconclusive results of previous investigations into the massacre.
A panel convened by the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit found “no clear single motivating factor” in the shooting, noting Paddock had no specific grievance against any Las Vegas institution, and no affiliations with extremist groups or diagnoses of mental illness.
In 2018, then-Clark County sheriff Joseph Lombardo’s officer found that Paddock’s bank accounts fell from $2.1m in value to $530,000 in the two years before the attack, but the sheriff said investigators couldn’t “definitively answer the why.”
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