This We Know About Vegas Gunman: He Loved to Gamble

Stephen Paddock often played for big stakes, says his brother
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2017 2:40 PM CDT
This We Know About Vegas Gunman: He Loved to Gamble
People hold hands inside the Sands Corporation plane hangar after the shooting.   (Al Powers/Invision/AP)

As the world struggles to understand why Stephen Paddock unleashed the deadliest mass shooting in US history on his Las Vegas victims, one fact is becoming clear: The 64-year-old loved to gamble, and for big stakes. Whether that has anything to do with the shooting, however, remains very much unclear. Details:

  • Recent transactions: Law enforcement sources tell NBC News that Paddock recently made several large gambling transactions. However, it wasn't clear whether they were wins or losses, and "large" isn't defined.
  • A regular: Brother Eric Paddock of Florida tells the Washington Post that Stephen was a retiree and seemingly well off, and he loved to spend time at casinos. "My brother is not like you and me. He plays high stakes video poker. He sends me a text that says he won $250,000 at the casino." Eric says he knows of no gambling debts and showed the FBI three years of texts from his brother, none of which mentioned money trouble.
  • Bank robber dad: Paddock's father was a bank robber who was once on the FBI's most-wanted list, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Benjamin Hoskins Paddock escaped from prison in Texas in 1968 when he was eight years into a 20-year sentence. He, too, was described as a frequent gambler. The elder Paddock wasn't re-captured until 1978, in Oregon. He died in 1998.

  • Old habit: Stephen Paddock owned a home in a community for 55-and-older residents in Brevard County, Florida, from 2013-15, though neighbors say he wasn't there much. “He seemed normal, other than that he lived by gambling," says one former neighbor, per TCPalm. "He was very open about that." Paddock also lived in a retirement community in Reno, Nevada, for several years with girlfriend Marilou Danley, and neighbors there recall him as "reclusive" and gone frequently on gambling trips. (Danley has been cleared in the shooting.)
  • Apartments: Brother Bruce Paddock says Stephen also made money through apartments he owned with his mother. And in the late 1980s, he worked as "internal auditor" for a predecessor of Lockheed Martin, per NBC News. The company says it is cooperating with authorities about his work there.
  • Lawsuit? A man named Stephen Paddock sued the Cosmopolitan hotel and casino in Vegas in 2012, alleging that he slipped on the floor and suffered injuries, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The suit was dismissed two years later when both sides dropped the matter
(More Stephen Paddock stories.)

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