FBI Determine Las Vegas Shooter’s Motive Was a Desire for Destruction and Infamy
The FBI found no clear motive behind the Las Vegas shooting after more than a year of investigating the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, determining the shooter only desired mass destruction and infamy.
Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music concert from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Oct. 2017, killing 58 people and injuring roughly 900. By the time police located Paddock’s suite, the 64-year-old retired postal service worker, accountant, and real estate investor had committed suicide.
“It wasn’t about MGM, Mandalay Bay or a specific casino or venue,” Aaron Rouse, the head of the FBI’s Las Vegas office, told the Associated Press. “It was all about doing the maximum amount of damage and him obtaining some form of infamy.”
In the hundreds of interviews following the shooting, police learned Paddock had no religious or political affiliations, but he did enjoy gambling tens of thousands of dollars in high-stakes video poker.
This habit earned him special treatment at casinos: the AP reports Paddock was allowed to use the service elevators at Mandalay Bay to bring up multiple suitcases. He was provided the suite, worth $590 per night, for free.
In his personal life, Paddock may have suffered from mental health issues and expressed feelings that he couldn’t be helped. He reportedly grew up in a financially-strapped home. His father, a bank robber once on the FBI Most Wanted list, was not in the picture but may have inspired Paddock’s final act.
“Paddock’s father created a facade to mask his true criminal identity and hide his diagnosed psychopathic history, and in so doing ultimately achieved significant criminal notoriety,” read the FBI summary, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Paddock’s younger sibling reportedly called his brother the “king of microaggression.” As the AP puts it, Paddock was “narcissistic, detail-oriented and maybe bored enough with life to plan an attack that would make him famous.”
Paddock wired $150,000 to his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, while she was visiting family in the Philippines prior to the shooting. He had an estimated $5 million in savings and real estate assets when he carried out the mass shooting.
Although business dropped steeply in the weeks after the shooting, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino appeared to be back to business as usual just one year later, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Construction on a $1.9 billion stadium that’s supposed to the new home for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders continues, and tourists and conference attendees still come and go.
“A lot of the feeling among people is more, ‘Let’s move on,'” Pauline Ng Lee, a community activist and chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Men’s Club, told the U.S. News & World Report a year after the shooting. “People tend to look forward, not back.”
Less than a year after, however, MGM—who owns the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Paddock fired from—has filed federal complaints against victims of the shooting, aiming to avoid liability claims. The decision has been met with backlash and boycotts from the general population.