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5 Oct 2017

Girlfriend of Las Vegas gunman answers questions many have been asking

The girlfriend of the Las Vegas gunman said she had no inkling of the massacre he was plotting when he sent her on a trip abroad to see her family.
Marilou Danley issued the statement after returning from her native Philippines and being questioned for much of the day by FBI agents still trying to figure out what drove Stephen Paddock to kill 58 people at a country music festival from his 32nd-floor hotel suite.

‘He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen,’ Ms Danley said in a statement read by her lawyer outside FBI headquarters in Los Angeles.

Ms Danley, who out of the country for more than two weeks, said she was initially pleased when Paddock wired her money in the Philippines to buy a house for her family, but she later feared it was a way to break up with her. ‘It never occurred to me in any whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone,’ she said.

Ms Danley, 62, who has been called a ‘person of interest’ by investigators, said she knew Paddock as a ‘kind, caring, quiet man’ and hoped they would have a future together.

She said she was devastated by the carnage and she would cooperate with authorities as they struggle to get inside Paddock’s mind. Investigators are busy reconstructing his life, behaviour and the people he encountered in the weeks leading up to the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said.

That includes examining his computer and mobile phone. But as of Wednesday, investigators were unable to come up with a motive for the Sunday night attack that left more than 500 people injured and ended with Paddock killing himself in his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel casino. ‘This individual and this attack didn’t leave the sort of immediately accessible thumbprints that you find on some mass casualty attacks,’ Mr McCabe said.

The 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and real estate investor specifically requested an upper-floor room with a view of the music festival, according to a person who has seen hotel records turned over to investigators.

The room, which goes for $590 (£445), was given to Paddock free because he was a good customer who wagered tens of thousands of dollars each time he visited the casino, the person said. It was just another indication of how methodically he planned the attack. Authorities have said he brought 23 weapons in 10 suitcases into the room and set up cameras inside and out to watch for police closing in on him. But investigators had little to work with in trying to determine what set him off. ‘He was a private guy.

That’s why you can’t find out anything about him,’ his brother, Eric Paddock, said from his home in Florida. As for what triggered the massacre, the brother said: ‘Something happened that drove him into the pit of hell.’

Paddock had no known criminal history. Public records contained no indication of any financial problems, and his brother described him as a wealthy real estate investor. ‘I believe, based on what I have been told, the issue was not that he was under financial stress,’ said Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump met privately with victims at a Las Vegas hospital on Wednesday and then with police officers and dispatchers, praising them and the doctors who treated the wounded.

‘Our souls are stricken with grief for every American who lost a husband or a wife, a mother or a father, a son or a daughter,’ he said. ‘We know that your sorrow feels endless. We stand together to help you carry your pain.’

Paddock had stockpiled 47 guns since 1982 and bought 33 of them, mostly rifles, over the past year alone, right up until three days before the attack, Jill Snyder, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told CBS on Wednesday.

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