Las Vegas shooting: Gunman Stephen Paddock 'notorious for abusing girlfriend in public'

'He would glare down at her and say — with a mean attitude — ‘You don’t need my casino card for this. I’m paying for your drink, just like I’m paying for you.’' 

Chris Baynes
Wednesday 04 October 2017 09:28 BST
Las Vegas shooting: Who is gunman Stephen Paddock?

Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock was notorious for verbally abusing his girlfriend in public, according to coffee shop staff who served the couple.

The 64-year-old, an avid gambler, was described as "rude" and "mean" by baristas at a casino Starbucks he would often visit with partner Marilou Danley in their hometown of Mesquite, Nevada.

Filipino Ms Danley, 62, was holidaying in her home country when Paddock killed at least 59 people and injured 527 by shooting at crowds at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.

She has since returned to the US and was met by FBI agents at an airport in Los Angeles, where she is said to be co-operating with investigators.

Workers at the Starbucks inside Mesquite's Virgin River Casino remembered Paddock frequently berating his girlfriend.

The abuse came when Ms Danley asked to use Paddock's casino card - loaded with credits won by gambling on electronic machines - to pay for their coffee.

“It happened a lot,” supervisor Esperanza Mendoza told the Los Angeles Times.

She added: “He would glare down at her and say — with a mean attitude — ‘You don’t need my casino card for this. I’m paying for your drink, just like I’m paying for you.’ Then she would softly say, ‘OK’ and step back behind him. He was so rude to her in front of us.”

The couple always placed the same order, with Paddock drinking a large mocha cappuccino and Ms Danley a medium caramel macchiato.

She stood only elbow-high to her partner, said staff.

“He looked like he never slept because of the large bags under his eyes,” added Ms Mendoza.

Another barista described Paddock as quiet and "in his own world". He appeared "rude" and would not allow his partner order for herself, the employee said.

"He didn't let her talk," they added.

Paddock's neighbours at the retirement community in which he lived, 90 miles (145km) north-east of Las Vegas, said they rarely saw the former accountant and apartment manager.

"Nobody knew him. I literally never saw him," said a neighbour who lives two doors down from Paddock's home, where police found more than 19 firearms and explosives. Another 23 guns were found in his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, from which he sprayed bullets at crowds at the Route 91 Harvest festival.

"The house was so quiet, we thought they were snowbirds," the neighbour added, referring to retirees who spent the winter months in warm-weather places such as Mesquite.

Paddock's bins were put out on the street before anyone else was even awake, leaving no opportunity for casual chats with neighbours living just feet away. Yard work was done by gardeners and Paddock is not thought to have taken part in any of the social activities, such as bingo, provided by the retirement community.

As media descended on the area following the shooting, neighbours immediately next to Paddock's mustard-colored stucco home displayed a sign on their door: "We did not know him."

Paddock seemed more sociable to those who delivered him pizza from Domino's 14 times in recent months. Described as a good tipper, Paddock paid cash and always ordered the same thing - two medium mushroom pizzas with extra cheese.

Sometimes he would tell the delivery person he was trying to lose weight and the pizza was only for his companion. Domino's employee Jessie Givens recalled Paddock would joke to her: "It's not fair, she gets to eat pizza and I don't."

Stephen Paddock's house raided by police

Paddock is known to have had other previous relationships, none of them recent.

Court records show he married in 1977 and was divorced three years later in 1980 in Los Angeles County. Five years later he married again, before separating from his wife in 1989 and divorcing in 1990. In both cases, court papers cited irreconcilable differences.

Police scrambling to identify a motive for the worst mass shooting in recent US history hope Ms Danley will be able to provide clues.

Officers piecing together details of Paddock's life have focused on financial transactions, including $100,000 (£755,000) wired to the Philippines last week.

A senior US homeland security official told Reuters on Tuesday that investigators were working on the assumption the money was intended as a form of life insurance payment.

The official said US authorities were eager to question Ms Danley about whether Paddock encouraged her to leave the United States before going on his rampage.

Ms Danley arrived in Manila on 15 September, more than two weeks before the mass shooting in Las Vegas, then flew to Hong Kong on 22 September and returned in Manila on 25 September.

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