The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has released more documents related to the 1 October mass shooting.
The police interviews reveal more insights into gunman Stephen Paddock’s mental state – and the conduct of law enforcement during Hurricane Katrina seemed to be a tipping point.
A man who about a month before the shooting offered to sell Paddock for $40 schematics for an AR-15 that could be converted from a semiautomatic weapon to an automatic weapon said Paddock would carry on about “anti-government stuff” that included FEMA camps and Hurricane Katrina.
“That was just a dry run for law enforcement and military to start kickin’ down doors and… confiscating guns,” the man quoted Paddock as saying.
“He was kind of fanatical about this stuff I just figured he’s another internet nut, you know, watching too much of it and believing too much of it,” said the man, who claimed to at the time be an unemployed chef who had become desperate for cash because a trust fund had dwindled out.
The man was arrested a couple days after Oct. 1 on a “possession charge” (not gun related) and was interviewed in the Clark County Detention Center on Nov. 7.
Paddock offered the man $500 to make multiple AR-15s that could be converted from a semi-automatic weapon to an automatic weapon for him (the man’s response: “I’m too old to spend the rest of my life in federal prison”). Paddock turned down the offer to take the schematics, according to the statement.
The man said Paddock also said: “Somebody has to wake up the American public and get them to arm themselves. … Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.”
The man connected the 1 October shooting with the hurricanes that had just happened.
Girlfriend seen with Paddock
Special agents and local police talked to everyone from bussers to executive casino hosts to find patterns and mannerisms. With only a few exceptions, Marilou Danley was constantly by his side.
A busser at the Noodle Shop at Mandalay Bay said she helped serve Paddock and Danley at noon at Table 202 on Sept. 29, the Friday before the shooting. She knew little about the couple beyond them getting water and hot tea. She identified Danley in detail: tied-up hair and “beautiful” makeup wearing a jean T-shirt and a white tennis skirt. He recognized her in the picture because she saw the white in the roots of her hair and had pegged her as Filipino.
“I don’t focus too much on him,” the busser said. “I was lookin’ that lady. You know, women we criticize each other sometime.”
Law enforcement asked the women to give a percent certainty – 10%, 75%, 50% – but all she would say is when she saw a photo on television that she had seen them before.
Until now, it was believed that Danley was in the Philippines before the shooting. A spokeswoman from the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines had said in October that Danley had entered the country on Sept. 15 and again on Sept. 25, traveling on an Australian passport. On Sept. 25 , Paddock had arrived at the Mandalay Bay and changed his registration on Sept. 28 so Danley's name was included.
The statements from casino employees largely back up the narrative. When he was on the casino floors he was a skilled, calm and mildly awkward video game poker player.
They asked an executive casino host with Caesars casinos who had Paddock as a customer asked him his gaming habits, what he ate, whether he came in with a lot of baggage, how he dressed or if he asked for anything extra.
Employees detail Paddock's previous visits to Las Vegas casinos
Paddock had played at Caesars for years – earning himself elite seven-star loyalty status with the chain.
But around March 2006 Caesars cut back on his offers and removed his favorite video game poker machines (Ten Play Dollar and Double Bonus Poker) because Paddock, a skilled gambler, knew how to maximize profits from those specific machines. His final trips to Caesars were in December 2016, March 2017 and August 2017.
The casino host considered Paddock a man with a temper after screaming at him out of the blue about his luggage being 20 minutes late to the presidential suite at the Rio, a luxurious room with its own pool (Paddock periodically requested that Rio suite).
“He was like screaming at me. And I’m like that’s really kind of rare,” the host said.
Paddock would either come by himself or with Danley, who would quietly played a poker machine alongside him.
The casino hosts job would be to get to know a player like Paddock, who would get – even years after being a regular – a $1,000 offer to game at Caesars. But 20- to 30-minute conversations with Paddock wouldn’t yield much, the casino host said.
“He liked to talk about gambling and traveling,” the host said, adding that Paddock “wasn’t the most open guy that way.”
Paddock was also all business at Wynn casinos. A casino employee who managed comps and reservations, among other things, was assigned to service Paddock for about six years. Paddock made more than 100 trips to the Wynn casinos (the police report doesn’t get any more specific). He was calm and standoff-ish. He never lost his temper, never complained even if he was losing, and always paid his debts. He was, in the staff member’s words, a “perfect customer.”
He largely played video poker – and he was very fortunate. He once won a luxury car giveaway – but took cash ($90,000) instead of the car. Several months later won another promotion and walked away with $150,000.
Danley entered the picture about three years ago, the employee said. After that, she was always by his side. While the Wynn employee believed the relationship was sincere, “I didn’t see a whole lot of affection.”
A housekeeper who cleaned Paddock's room a few days before the shooting told police that he made her uncomfortable. The housekeeper said that Paddock kept staring at her as she cleaned his room.
The statements released Wednesday also highlight the chaos and the mix of terror, courage and guilt from Mandalay guests who feared for their lives but also tried to help.
One guest in room 128 on the 30th floor heard the glass shatter and the shooting begin – which he thought at first was fireworks going off. He couldn’t reach Mandalay security but instead got a hold of security at Luxor and they got him through to security at Mandalay. He shared that he thought the shooter was on the 30th floor and the Mandalay security shouted that out and hung up. He stayed low and in his room until the incident was well over, texting a friend who was at the Mandalay and calling his father to contact Las Vegas police.
“I tried to tell somebody as fast as possible that he was in our area but I couldn’t get through,” the guest said. “I couldn’t get through fast enough."
Another statement that was included in the document release on Wednesday appears to be from Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos.
The one-page statement written at 2:35 a.m. Oct. 2 starts with information about access to the 32nd floor being blocked and having to find another way onto the floor. The person, believed to be Campos, describes hearing drilling before hearing gunshots and being hit by something in the "left back calf." The guard then called for backup. Several other people responded and the guard who was shot was taken to the baggage area of the hotel. After being treated for a wound, the statement indicates that the person was "evacuated."
Sounds of fireworks, heroic acts described by those at the concert
Many of the people who were there that night described how they thought the gunshots were fireworks.
"And then we look up and Jason Aldean had been like escorted off the stage and that's the point that we knew something was happening that wasn't supposed to be happening," a 22-year-old woman visiting from New Jersey told police. The Route 91 Harvest Festival had been a graduation gift from her parents.
But then they saw people running and the sound didn't stop. Despite wearing a boot after breaking her foot, the 22-year-old woman and her parents eventually ran and found a fence with a hole in it. While waiting to get through, she heard more shots fired.
"And then the last shot, I just feel this intense burning in my hip." When everyone else got back up, she couldn't get up after she had been shot.
But she knew it could have been worse.
"You could just see these people and they're injured and trampled over and someone's been shot way worse than I have and there's some people that are just deceased on the ground and you're just walking and it's frightening," she told police.
Eventually, she was taken to Sunrise Hospital, where she underwent surgery. Doctors also discovered she had a fractured pelvis.
Another woman, who lived locally, said she was knocked down as she was running away and people were stepping on her ankle. In that moment, she wrote, "I was so scared about what was happening and what would happen to my kids if I were to die."
Eventually, she was able to get up and flee the festival grounds. Once she found her husband, they asked a woman in a car if she could take them home, who obliged.
While that couple was able to get a ride, another woman, who was visiting with her boyfriend, aunt and uncle, were unable to get a ride after the shooting.
Like many at the festival, she thought when the shooting began that the gunman was inside the festival. She and her family were eventually able to get into an office building and hid there for about five hours.
"I am horribly traumatized," she said on Oct. 11. "Can't leave the house, hear loud sounds, be in crowds and haven't been able to work."
One man from Texas told police detectives in his hometown that he had traveled to Las Vegas to attend the festival with his mother. The pair were on the way to the bathroom when the shooting began. He said that he knew what gunfire sounded like because his father owned guns. He told detectives that the two began running and he felt something hit his foot. He later discovered a piece of shrapnel in his boot and his big toe was injured.
Another person described being shot like this: "I reached down thinking somebody had spilt their drink on me or something, not really putting two and two together until I realized my hand was warm and red and that's when it hit me I was just shot."
And a man told police: "The first thing I did was to call my wife and basically told her I didn't know if I was able to make it home. Shots were coming from everywhere, my whole life passed through me."
A paralegal who was at the festival described hearing "loud cracker type noises." The paralegal ran and hid with someone behind a barrel. That was when one of the victims was shot. The paralegal says that small "particles" hit his or her face. After that, the paralegal was able to get out of the venue.
A woman who was there with her husband, a police officer, told police that her husband was standing close behind her, protecting her when he was shot. "He suddenly flinched really hard and wasn't there anymore. Babe, I've been shot. He said it almost like a question. And he was whispering 'cause, you know, he has been in the department a long time. Like you don't just scream I've been shot."
A man was shot in the back but was able to run to the exit. A man in a red pickup truck loaded him up and took him to Desert Springs Hospital.
Concertgoers also tried to help those who were injured. A female server saw a woman bleeding and took off her tank top to use as a tourniquet while another woman said two people gave a bandana and a jean jacket to go around her husband's wound.
Other visitors claim they met a man they believed could be Paddock
A British citizen visiting Las Vegas told police that he had a conversation with a man he believed to be Paddock the night before the shooting at the Luxor.
He says that Paddock was saying strange things and making references to biblical scripture, talking about stories of God coming down and saving men who were down on their luck. Paddock also allegedly said that God had saved him from health-related afflictions (boils etc.). The man also told the visitor that he was in the Army for four years as a tank driver and that he had once tried to commit suicide by burning himself to death in a dumpster. Paddock also allegedly said that he "wanted to die" and was complaining about his younger-than-him girlfriend always wanting sex with him.
Another man told police that he may have encountered Paddock at a bus stop right before the shooting. He says that he was waiting for a bus around 10 p.m. when he was approached by a white man who asked him if he believed in God. He then told the waiting man to say a prayer before what was about to happen that tonight. He also reportedly asked how to get into the festival and how to get a ticket.