Posted on: March 30, 2023, 02:46h.
Last updated on: March 30, 2023, 03:00h.
Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had developed a grudge against casinos and lost “thousands” in the leadup to the 2017 massacre that killed 60 and injured hundreds more.
That’s according to newly released FBI documents, at times heavily redacted, that detail a yearlong investigation by the agency’s behavioral analysis unit that concluded in 2019.
The report doesn’t claim this was Paddock’s primary motivation for committing the deadliest shooting in modern American history. Rather, it concludes that there was “no clear single motivating factor” for the atrocity. And if there was, Paddock took it with him to his grave.
Paddock left no suicide note or manifesto. He wasn’t especially political, had no apparent sympathy with any terrorist group, and no history of mental health problems. However, neighbors described him as “strange.”
He didn’t like to make eye contact and refused offers to shake hands, they said. One said she never saw any lights on in his house, except occasionally in the middle of the night.
A gambler associate of Paddock’s told the FBI the 64-year-old accountant was “very upset at the way casinos were treating him and other high rollers” because they had reduced the number of comps they gave to VIP customers. He was “personally upset and stressed” about the issue and this could “easily be what caused Paddock to snap,” the gambler suggested.
He added that the Mandalay Bay wasn’t treating Paddock well because “a player of his status should have been on a higher floor in a Penthouse Suite,” according to the report.
Paddock was a real-estate millionaire who regularly played video poker for big stakes in Las Vegas. His bank accounts had dwindled from $2.1 million to $530K in the two years leading up to the attack.
He stayed at the Tropicana Las Vegas for two days just weeks before the shooting and lost $38K, a Tropicana employee told agents.
Oklahoma Bombing Fixation
Paddock booked a hotel room overlooking the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago just months before the Las Vegas attack. This suggests he may have been scoping out other targets before settling on Las Vegas, and that casinos weren’t necessarily the focus of his rage. That’s according to Russell Palarea, chief executive of the threat-assessment firm Operational Psychology Services, who spoke to The Wall Street Journal Thursday.
The report found no evidence that Paddock had a grievance against “any specific casino, hotel, or institution in Las Vegas.” Paddock’s chosen target, the Route 91 Harvest festival, across from his room at the Mandalay Bay, indicated he simply wanted to kill as many people as possible, including himself, according to the report.
One former colleague, who remained friendly with Paddock, told the FBI the killer was obsessed with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in which 168 people died. Paddock also told the witness that “Hitler was a good man.”
Paddock was “mad at the system and did not like how things were going,” the witness said. Nevertheless, he “did not expect him to go out like that.”