News World

Las Vegas shooter an enigma

By Brad Hunter, Toronto Sun

This undated photo provided by Eric Paddock shows his brother, Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock. (AP PHOTO)

This undated photo provided by Eric Paddock shows his brother, Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock. (AP PHOTO)

Las Vegas massacre mastermind Stephen Paddock was the man who wasn’t there.

Paddock, 64, unleashed his sick vengeance on 22,000 Sin City concert goers Sunday night, spraying them with hundreds of rounds of bullets from his perch on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

By the time the shooting stopped, Paddock had blown his brains out and 59 people were dead — including four Canadians — with another 500 wounded.

But the vexing question detectives are trying to unravel is “why?”

Even his own brother, Eric Paddock, was at a loss for words to explain what may have motivated his twisted sibling.

Terror group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the massacre but the FBI has emphatically said there are no ties between Paddock and the death cult.

He was also a heavy gambler and had been betting heavily in the days before his death. Were losses to blame? Or did he just snap?

Forensic psychologist Dr. Elliott Atkins told Fox 29 that Paddock — a high-stakes gambler, real estate investor and multi-millionaire — was well-prepared for bloodshed.

“He had a plan and he stuck to it. What does that say about him,” Atkins said. “A person who had some kind of unresolved issue in his life that was (demonstrated) through this kind of behaviour. I doubt he had any issues with the people he was shooting at. They were all strangers to him.”

Atkins added that he was struck by Paddock’s “level of determination”.

“Obviously it was premeditated. He went into that building knowing he was going to do something. He brought all those guns, all those rifles with him,” Atkins said.

Paddock’s bank robber father was a diagnosed “psychopath” and Atkins believes that could have played a role.

More intriguing is ISIS’s claim Paddock was a convert bent on jihad. The crumbling caliphate’s propaganda arm claimed the attack was revenge for the air war that has obliterated the terror group.

The pro-ISIS Al-Battar Media Foundation released a two-minute video in English entitled Rightful Revenge.

The mish-mash of media manipulation shows clips from Vegas and an old recording from ISIS pin-up boy Jihadi John, who was blasted off the face of the earth.

A written message appeared on the screen that said the video was: “A message to America and her allies from the Islamic State, that as you kill us in our country, we will kill you in your country.”

Experts say that as ISIS has been whittled away, the group has taken to claiming responsibility for others’ horrific handiwork.

And Paddock kept a low profile in Mesquite, Nev. — a retirement community about an hour north of Vegas.

One neighbour called him “aggressively unfriendly” while others barely noticed him, although they were friendly with his 62-year-old girlfriend Marilou Danley. Cops say had no involvement in the slaughter.

What the couple had in common was a propensity for high-stakes gambling. She went to her native Philippines a week before the shooting and Paddock wired her $100,000.

According to NBC News, quoting an unnamed casino executive, Paddock was betting a whopping $10,000 per day, often going as high as $20,000 or $30,000.

The gunman was also known for acts of kindness, like making sure his mother was OK during Hurricane Irma and sending her a high-tech walker.