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Las Vegas gunman's girlfriend said she didn't know he planned harm

Las Vegas gunman's girlfriend said she didn't know he planned harm

'I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man'
Las Vegas gunman's girlfriend said she didn't know he planned harm
Two women embrace while waiting at a police checkpoint Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Photographer: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

LAS VEGAS — In her first public statement since the Las Vegas massacre, the gunman’s girlfriend said Wednesday that he had sent her on a trip to the Philippines and wired her money there but that she did not know he was planning to harm anyone.

“I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man. I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him,” the woman, Marilou Danley said, referring to the gunman, in a statement read by her lawyer, Matthew Lombard. “It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone.”

marilou_0_0.jpg
Undated photo of Marilou Danley. (Provided)

The statement, which came after Danley went to the Los Angeles offices of the FBI for questioning, according to a law enforcement official, was released as the authorities sought her insight into what prompted a man with no evident criminal history to become a mass murderer.

Danley said that she was grateful to Paddock for the trip to the Philippines, her native country, to visit family, but that when he wired her money, “which he said was for me to buy a house for me and my family,” she feared that it was his “way of breaking up with me.”

She stressed that she returned to the United States voluntarily, “because I know that the FBI and the Las Vegas police department wanted to talk to me, and I wanted to talk to them.”

The bureau is trying to reconstruct the actions of the gunman, including finding and interviewing “everyone and anyone who crossed his path in recent weeks,” Andrew G. McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI, said at a cybersecurity conference in Boston.

Paddock “is an individual who was not on our radar or anyone’s radar prior to the event,” McCabe said in an interview with CNBC outside the conference. “So we really have a challenging bit of detective work to do here, to kind of put the pieces back together after the fact.”

President Meets With Victims of the Attack

President Donald Trump paid tribute to the professionalism of the doctors who treated the Las Vegas shooting victims and said that meeting with the patients at one hospital made him “proud to be an American.”

The president said he met with some “absolutely terribly wounded” patients and hailed their bravery during the horrific attack Sunday night. He said many of those he met with were wounded as they sought to help others amid the hail of bullets from the shooter in a nearby hotel.

More than 120 people injured in the attack remained in the hospital Wednesday, including 57 at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, 29 of them in critical condition; 60 at University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, with six in critical condition; and eight at Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican hospital, with four in critical condition.

“I think the only message I can say is that we are with you 100 percent,” Trump said in brief remarks to reporters before a meeting with law enforcement officials in Las Vegas.

Body Camera Footage Captured Officers’ Response

Las Vegas police officers took cover and directed concertgoers to safety as gunshots rang out Sunday, newly released body camera footage shows.

“Hey, you guys, get down,” one officer shouted at bystanders between volleys of gunfire. “Go that way. Get out of here. There are gunshots coming from over there. Go that way.”

But some people did not believe they were under attack and rebuffed orders to evacuate. “That’s fireworks,” one bystander shouted at officers. Another yelled expletives when told to take cover.

As sirens blared and gunfire crackled, the video showed, officers strained to find the source of the shots.

“Hey, they’re shooting right at us, guys,” one officer said as he and his colleagues crouched behind a wall with their weapons drawn. “Everybody stay down, stay down.”

“North of the Mandalay Bay, it’s coming out of a window,” another officer says.

The 3-minute video released by police Tuesday was a compilation of footage from the cameras of several officers at the scene.

“There’s multiple people shot up there,” someone says in one clip.

“We see muzzle blasts from the Mandalay Bay,” someone, apparently an officer, said in another clip.

Police have also confirmed the authenticity of leaked photographs of the deceased gunman with a revolver by his side and of his hotel suite, showing ammunition and rifles.

Gunman Stockpiled Weapons

Paddock, 64, had been buying weapons since 1982, including 33 in the past year, Jill A. Snyder, the special agent in charge of the San Francisco office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told CBS on Wednesday.

Asked if such purchases would set off any alarms, she clarified that the bureau would not have been alerted. The Gun Control Act of 1968 requires sellers to report the sale or disposition of two or more handguns to the same buyer, only if those purchases occur at the same time or within five business days of each other. There is no federal law requiring sellers to alert the bureau to the sale of multiple rifles.

Twelve of the rifles Paddock had in his luxury suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino were outfitted with a “bump stock,” a device that enables a gun to fire like a machine gun, with hundreds of rounds per minute, which may explain how he was able to rain such devastation on the crowd below, law enforcement officials said.

Such devices are generally legal, and the possibility that he may have used them set off a fresh round of calls by Democratic lawmakers in Washington to pass more gun regulations after the tragedy.

Semi-automatic rifles, like those the gunman had, are made to fire a single round with each pull of the trigger. But recordings and witness accounts of the shooting made it clear that Paddock was firing much faster, at a rate comparable to that of a fully automatic weapon, which quickly fires round after round with a single pull of the finger. Undersheriff Kevin McMahill of the Las Vegas police said that Paddock fired on the concertgoers for 9 to 11 minutes, in about a dozen bursts.

Police have found a total of 47 firearms in his two houses and the hotel suite. Snyder said on Tuesday that almost all had been traced and that they had been bought in Nevada, Utah, California and Texas.

McCabe of the FBI dismissed “dubious claims of responsibility” — a reference to statements from the Islamic State group claiming that the killer was one of its followers — and said that investigators were seeking “actual indicators of motive and intent.”

Deeper Portrait of Gunman’s Life Emerging

Paddock could be imperious and demanding, expecting other people to wait on him, according to people who knew him. But his youngest brother said he was different with Danley.

“She was probably one of the only people I’ve ever seen that he’d go out of his way to do a little thing for,” said Eric Paddock, who lives in Florida. “He went out of his way to be nice to her. This is not something Steve does — go out of his way.”

The gunman was a professional gambler who routinely won and lost thousands of dollars at casinos in Reno and Las Vegas, which often provided him free rooms. “He was a math guy,” Eric Paddock said. “He could tell you off the top of his head what the odds were, down to a tenth of a percent on whatever machine he was playing.”

Stephen Paddock was the eldest of four boys who grew up angry after their father vanished from their lives, but he was the least angry of the group, said another brother, Patrick Paddock. He said that for years, their mother, who struggled to support them on her own, hid from them the fact that their father, a bank robber, had gone to prison, so they had no idea where he was.

“My brother was the most boring one in the family,” he said of Stephen. “He was the least violent one in the family, over a 30-year history, so it’s like, who?”

He said he had not spoken with his oldest brother in 20 years but would not say why.

Stephen Paddock graduated from California State University, Northridge, a large public institution in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, in 1977. Carmen Ramos Chandler, the university’s director of media relations, said that he had completed a degree in business administration.

His work history was not completely clear. Stephen Paddock worked for the federal government for roughly 10 years, from 1975 to 1985, a spokeswoman for the Office of Personnel Management confirmed.

Investigators unearthed multiple job applications, with Paddock’s fingerprints on file, as part of records reflecting his employment as a letter carrier for the Postal Service in the mid-1970s; as an IRS agent from 1978 to 1984; and as an auditor focused on defense contracts, a job he held until 1985. He also worked in the 1980s for one of the companies that later combined to form Lockheed Martin, the aerospace contractor.

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