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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Who was Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock?

The 64-year-old seemed set for a quiet life in a desert retirement community near his beloved casinos before embarking on the worst mass shooting in recent US history

Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock in an undated photo provided by his brother. Courtesy of Eric Paddock via AP
Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock in an undated photo provided by his brother. Courtesy of Eric Paddock via AP

At first glance, it seemed Stephen Paddock, 64, was set for a quiet life in a desert retirement community near his beloved casinos where he bought a new home in 2015.

From there it was only an hour's drive to Las Vegas, where he would embark on the worst mass shooting in recent US history.

Public records point to an itinerant existence across the American West: a few years in coastal California, a few years in other parts of Nevada. Paddock had a hunting license in Texas, where he lived for at least a few years. He got his pilot license, and had at least one single-engine aircraft registered in his name.

In early 2015, he bought a modest two-story home in a new housing development for retirees on the dusty edge of Mesquite, a small desert town popular with golfers and gamblers that straddles the Nevada border with Arizona.

"It's a nice, clean home and nothing out of the ordinary," Quinn Averett, a Mesquite police department spokesman, said on Monday. Some guns and ammunition were found inside, though nothing remarkable in a region where gun ownership is high.

An hour's drive south-west is Las Vegas, where Paddock would check into a 32nd-floor room on Thursday last week at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino with at least 10 rifles for a shooting spree that would kill least 58 people and injure more than 500.

Eric Paddock, the shooter's brother, said the family was "bewildered" as to what drove him to mass murder, saying the family would release a brief statement through the sheriff's office in Orlando, Florida, where some of Paddock's relatives live.

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Read more on the Las Vegas shooting:

At least 58 killed and 500 injured in deadliest mass shooting in modern US history

The deadliest shooting rampages in the US since 2012

The key facts

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Eric Paddock told the Orlando Sentinel he had helped his brother move to Nevada two years ago to escape Central Florida's humidity and play more video poker. The two were last in touch a few weeks ago, texting about power outages after Hurricane Irma hit Florida.

A former neighbour named Sharon Judy in Viera, Florida, told the newspaper that Stephen Paddock was a friendly man who had described himself as a professional gambler. He once showed Ms Judy a picture of him winning a US$20,000 (Dh73,461) slot machine jackpot, she said.

Paddock had no criminal record other than a traffic infraction, according to authorities.

Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, is from from Mesquite, Nevada.
Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, is from from Mesquite, Nevada.

Before moving to Mesquite in Nevada, he lived in another town called Mesquite in Texas where he was listed as the manager of an apartment complex called Central Park. A woman who answered the telephone for the complex referred questions to another manager, who did not respond to messages.

Records as recently as 2015 list Paddock as single. Police and public records said he lived with a woman named Marilou Danley in the Nevada retirement community. Ms Danley, who police had reportedly said was a person of interest in the mass shooting, described herself as a "casinos professional", as well as a mother and grandmother on social media websites.

However, police later said Ms Danley was travelling outside the country, and had no connection with the attack.