Stephen Paddock: Las Vegas gunman identified as 64-year-old white male

'He's not an avid gun guy at all,' says suspect's brother

Harriet Agerholm
Monday 02 October 2017 12:19 BST
Las Vegas shooting: Who is gunman Stephen Paddock?

The suspected gunman in the mass shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas has been named by police as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock.

At least 58 people were killed and more than 515 injured at the Route 91 country music event near the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

It is the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, with the death toll surpassing the 49 killed at a nightclub in Orlando in June 2016.

Witnesses described seeing flashes of light high up in the tower of the hotel and a sound "like firecrackers" as "clip after clip" was unloaded into the 22,000-strong crowd.

Paddock, a grandfather from Mesquite, Nevada, is believed to have been firing down at concert-goers from the 32nd floor.

The first photo to eimerge of Stephen Paddock

A Swat team used a controlled explosion to enter the hotel room, where Paddock was found dead, according to a police statement.

Officials believe Paddock killed himself before the officers entered.

At least 10 guns were recovered from the room, where Paddock had been staying since Thursday.

Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said police had found nothing to suggest a motive for the attack.

When asked during a news conference why the police were not treating the incident as an act of terrorism, he said: "We have to establish what his motivation is first.

"There are motivating factors associated with terrorism other than a distraught person just intending to cause mass casualty. Before we label with that it will be a matter of process."

Isis later claimed responsibility for the massacre, saying the shooter was "a soldier of the Islamic State" who answered "calls to target coalition countries".

A statement published by the group's Amaq propaganda agency – which cannot be independently verified – claimed he “converted to Islam several months ago”.

The wording of the release is similar to other attacks believed to have been inspired, rather than directed, by Isis.

Special Agent Aaron Rouse of the FBI responded to the Isis statement saying: "As this event unfolds to this point we have determined no connection with an international terrorist group."

Stephen Paddock: Las Vegas gunman identified by police as 64-year-old white male

Records show Paddock, who lived in a three-year-old, $396,000 (£297,554) two-bedroom home in a small retirement and golf community in Mesquite, 80 miles north east of Las Vegas near the Arizona state border.

Local media said he had also previously lived in Reno, Nevada, California and Florida.

The suspect's brother, Eric Paddock, said the family was stunned that the 64-year-old was the suspected gunman.

“He was my brother and it’s like an asteroid fell out of the sky,” he told CNN.

In an interview with CBS he said his brother had “no religious affiliation, no political affiliation, he just hung out”.

He added: “He’s not an avid gun guy at all. The fact that he had those kind of weapons is just — where the hell did he get automatic weapons? He has no military background or anything like that.

"He’s just a guy who lived in a house in Mesquite, drove down and gambled in Las Vegas. He did stuff. Ate burritos.”

Las Vegas Police Department confirmed that two off-duty police officers were among those killed.

At least two on-duty officers were also injured. One was in a stable condition after surgery and another sustained minor injuries.

Shortly after the attack, police launched a public manhunt for a 62-year-old female companion of the shooter called Marilou Danley. They later located and questioned her, but said she was no longer a person of interest.

Donald Trump: Las Vegas massacre was an act of pure evil

US President Donald Trump responded to the massacre by saying the attack was an “act of pure evil”. He did not mention the issue of gun control.

“Our unity cannot be shattered by evil," he said. "Our bonds cannot be broken by violence. It is our love that defines us today, and always will forever.”

He added: “In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy.”

Hillary Clinton launched a scathing attack on the National Rifle Association in response to the mass shooting.

In addition to demanding the right to bear arms the NRA has pushed for scrapping current restrictions that make it more difficult to but silencers for guns.

“The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots,” Ms Clinton said. “Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.”

She added: “Our grief isn't enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.”

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