Experts Skeptical of 'Psychopath' Designation on Shooter

For one thing, Stephen Paddock's attack was anything but impulsive
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2017 9:21 AM CDT
Experts Skeptical of 'Psychopath' Designation on Shooter
This undated photo provided by Eric Paddock shows his brother, Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock.   (Courtesy of Eric Paddock via AP)

"I can't get into the mind of a psychopath." The line from Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo about Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock may reflect conventional wisdom, but the term "psychopath" may be getting used too loosely, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The newspaper interviews a psychology professor and other experts who say that Paddock doesn't seem to fit the criteria. For one thing, psychopaths are impulsive, and police have made clear that Paddock's attack Sunday night had been meticulously planned. Paddock also kept in touch with family members and had a girlfriend, traits at odds with the classic picture of a psychopath as a cold loner.

In the story, one former FBI profiler suggests a simple if macabre motive: "Paddock may have fantasized becoming the greatest mass murderer ever." But that still doesn't explain what prompted Paddock to move from fantasy into reality. Another former FBI agent wonders if some childhood trauma, perhaps related to Paddock's father being a bank robber sought by the FBI, finally bubbled to surface. Meanwhile, Paddock's girlfriend, Marilou Danley, has told FBI investigators that he seemed to exhibit symptoms of mental health troubles, reports NBC News. "She said he would lie in bed, just moaning and screaming, 'Oh, my God,'" one agency official tells the network. (More Stephen Paddock stories.)

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