More than 24 hours after police found Stephen Paddock dead in his hotel room, they have not established a motive for the man who on Sunday in Las Vegas carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
While police and media investigations have started to surface a picture of Paddock – who friends, family, and authorities said was an occasional gambler who enjoyed hunting and aviation – nobody has been able to say why he opened fire on the crowd at a country music festival, killing at least 59 people and injuring 520 others.
Paddock, 64, was a millionaire who made much of his money investing in real estate, his brother Eric Paddock has said. Both his age and supposed income would go against the typical profile of a mass shooter.
Paste magazine interviewed Stephen Paddock’s neighbors, who said he kept to himself. But that wasn’t rare in the affluent suburb one neighbor compared to a resort.
Police said they found 19 guns in Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nevada, but he never set off any red flags among his neighbors.
“People who knew him say he seemed like a very normal individual,” one neighbor told the magazine.
Eric Paddock told the Daily Mail that he was “dumbfounded” and “shocked” by the news of his brother’s massacre.
“We have no idea how this happened,” he later told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s like an asteroid just fell on top of our family.”
Eric Paddock said in a televised interview that his brother was “not an avid gun guy,” but he said he did not speak to him often. Police recovered 42 total guns from Stephen Paddock’s hotel room and home.
- David Becker / Getty
While Eric and Stephen Paddock’s father was a convicted bank robber, a one-time armed and dangerous fugitive, and a diagnosed psychopath, according to the FBI, he was arrested for his crimes when Stephen Paddock was 7.
Clint Van Zandt, a supervisor in the FBI’s behavioral-science unit, said he came up empty when looking into Stephen Paddock.
“My challenge is, I don’t see any of the classic indicators, so far, that would suggest, ‘OK, he’s on the road either to suicide or homicide or both,'” Van Zandt told The Associated Press.
“He knew what he wanted to do,” he added. “He knew how he was going to do it, and it doesn’t seem like he had any kind of escape plan at all.”
The Islamic State terror organization claimed responsibility for the attack, but US officials quickly pushed back, saying there was no evidence of any link to an international terrorist organization. The group has a history of falsely claiming attacks to boost its profile.
- Thomson Reuters
Paddock had no known mental illnesses, his brother and authorities have said. He checked into his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino three days before opening fire during the last act of the last night of the Route 91 Harvest festival. The room gave him a good vantage point over the 22,000 concertgoers across the street, and he brought weapons that had scopes and special rifle butts that enabled them to act as automatic rifles.
As Las Vegas hospitals remain stretched thin caring for the wounded, police say they are examining “several pieces of media, including a computer,” they found in Paddock’s hotel room.