Gunman looked set for a retired life near casinos

Left: The gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (in background) overlooking the Route 91 Harvest music festival grounds. Above: Broken windows on the hotel's 32nd floor following the shooting. Las Vegas shooter
Left: The gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (in background) overlooking the Route 91 Harvest music festival grounds. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Left: The gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (in background) overlooking the Route 91 Harvest music festival grounds. Above: Broken windows on the hotel's 32nd floor following the shooting. Las Vegas shooter
Above: Broken windows on the hotel's 32nd floor following the shooting. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Left: The gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (in background) overlooking the Route 91 Harvest music festival grounds. Above: Broken windows on the hotel's 32nd floor following the shooting. Las Vegas shooter
Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had no political or religious affiliation, said his brother.PHOTO: TWITTER

LAS VEGAS • 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, Reuters reported.

Paddock had a hunting licence in Texas, where he lived for at least a few years. He obtained his pilot licence, and had at least one single-engine aircraft registered in his name.

In early 2015, he bought a modest two-storey 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," Mr Quinn Averett, a Mesquite police department spokesman, told reporters yesterday. Some guns and ammunition were found inside, though this was nothing remarkable in a region where gun ownership is high.

  • OTHER MASS SHOOTINGS

  • 49 killed

    June 12, 2016: Omar Mateen, 29, opens fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. At least 49 people are killed and more than 50 injured. Police shoot and kill Mateen during an operation to free hostages whom officials say he was holding in the club.

    32 killed

    April 16, 2007: Student Cho Seung Hui, 23, goes on a shooting spree at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, killing 32 people at two locations and wounding an undetermined number of others on campus. He then commits suicide.

    27 killed

    Dec 14, 2012: Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children, aged six to seven, and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He then turns the gun on himself. Police later find his mother Nancy Lanza dead from a gunshot wound in their home.

    23 killed

    Oct 16, 1991: In Killeen, Texas, George Hennard, 35, crashes his pickup truck through the wall of a local cafeteria. After exiting the truck, he shoots and kills 23 people, then commits suicide.

    14 killed

    Dec 2, 2015: Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, the US-born son of Pakistani immigrants, and his Pakistani-born wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, open fire at an employee gathering taking place at Inland Regional Centre in San Bernardino, California, killing 14. The couple, who are killed in a police shootout, are said to have been "radicalised" by extremist ideology.

    13 killed

    Nov 5, 2009: Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a 39-year-old US Army psychiatrist, kills 13 people and injures 32 others at Fort Hood, Texas, during a shooting rampage. He is convicted and sentenced to death.

    SOURCE: CNN

An hour's drive south-west is Las Vegas, where Paddock would check into a 32nd-floor room last Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino with at least 10 rifles for a shooting spree that would kill at least 58 people and hurt over 400.

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

Mr Paddock said that there was "absolutely no indication he could do something like this", and that his brother had no political or religious affiliation.

Speaking from his home in Orlando, Mr Paddock said he and his brother, living on different coasts, did not speak that often.

He said his mother was "in shock" and struggling to cope with the news, the Daily Mail reported.

"Our family is okay, we are sitting in here in our house, hoping that everyone doesn't attack us," said Mr Paddock.

"My mother is 90 years old, lives down the street from me. We are just completely dumbfounded. You can imagine how this has affected her."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2017, with the headline 'Gunman looked set for a retired life near casinos'. Print Edition | Subscribe