As authorities scramble to find a reason for Stephen Paddock’s shooting in Las Vegas, more information has become available. Amongst other things, police body cam footage has been released. We now have a closer look at his personal life and how he carried out the shooting, but we still don’t know why.
A Well-Planned Event
One fact that has emerged in the investigation thus far is that this was a well-planned event. Not only did Paddock bring an abundance of firepower, he also set up cameras to monitor police activity. The Washington Post reports that amongst his cameras was one in the peephole of the door and two more outside the room, one of which was hidden on a cart. The cameras did their job – Paddock was alerted to the presence of a security guard, who otherwise might have got the drop on him. The guard was injured after Paddock shot him through the door, but he was still able to verify the shooter’s position to the police.
Investigators also discovered that Paddock sent $100,000 to an as of yet undisclosed recipient in the Philippines in the days immediately before the shooting. His girlfriend, Marilou Danley, of Phillipino descent, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport Tuesday night and was met by and is expected to be questioned by the authorities. She had been out of the country visiting Manila and Hong Kong prior to the shooting.
Medical History Revealed
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, records obtained from the Nevada Prescription Monitoring Program show Stephen Paddock was prescribed Valium by Dr. Steven Winkler on June 21. Apparently, for those who already have aggression issues, this can be a dangerous drug:
“If somebody has an underlying aggression problem and you sedate them with that drug, they can become aggressive,” said Dr. Mel Pohl, chief medical officer of the Las Vegas Recovery Center. “It can disinhibit an underlying emotional state. … It is much like what happens when you give alcohol to some people … they become aggressive instead of going to sleep.”
A History of Aggression
Stephen Paddock’s neighbors report rarely seeing him or his girlfriend – some even assumed they lived elsewhere much of the year. However, in public, he was notorious for verbally abusing and controlling Ms. Danley. The Los Angeles Times reports:
“The workers behind the counter at the Starbucks inside the Virgin River Casino in Mesquite, Nev., winced whenever Stephen Paddock and his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, lined up for their usual beverages. That’s because Paddock had a nasty habit of berating Danley in public. “It happened a lot,” Esperanza Mendoza, supervisor of the Starbucks, said Tuesday.”
President Trump Visits Las Vegas
The president and first lady left Wednesday morning for Las Vegas to speak with survivors and pay their respects. After meeting the wounded, they’ll travel to an undisclosed location and meet with civilian heroes and first responders. President Trump called the response time a miracle, saying that the police have done a “really fantastic job in a very short time.”
The shooting has heated up the gun control debate, but the president would not speak of it yet, telling reporters “we’ll talk about that on a later date.”
While we still do not know what set Stephen Paddock off, we do have a better picture of the man. ISIS tried to claim credit for the attack, but it seems unlikely, since Paddock had no known ties to the terror group or any other religious group, for that matter. He was, however, a high roller at the casinos – often gambling more than $10,000 per day. He was an aggressive, verbally abusive man on medication that can exacerbate violent behavior.
Ultimately, we may never know why he did it. As the president said, “He’s a sick man, a demented man, lot of problems, I guess.” Seems like his guess is as good as anyone’s.