It was mid-September and Hurricane Irma had cut power in the Orlando, Florida, neighborhood where she lived. Stephen Paddock, who lived in Nevada, followed up with a call to their mother. Later, he sent her a walker to help her get around, Eric Paddock said.
About two weeks after the text, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock would be dead of a self-inflicted gun shot after police say he opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas.
Various agencies are investigating what led Stephen Paddock to shoot from the 32th floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of some 22,000 concertgoers. Paddock killed more than 50 people and wounded more than 500.
Las Vegas police said they did not know Stephen Paddock's name before the shooting and they believe he acted alone. He bought multiple firearms in the past, but investigators believe the firearms were purchased legally, a law enforcement official said. A Mesquite store, Guns & Guitars, said it sold a gun to Paddock and that "he never gave any indication or reason to believe he was unstable or unfit at any time."
Police found at least 23 weapons inside his hotel room, including multiple rifles, some with scopes. At least one rifle may have been altered to function as an automatic weapon, a law enforcement official said.
Eric Paddock said he knew his brother had firearms. His children had gone skeet-shooting with their uncle before, but Eric did not know Stephen to be a hunter. He acknowledged the limits of his knowledge, living thousands of miles from a brother he only spoke to occasionally.
Eric helped his brother drive across the country in 2016 to a new home in Mesquite, Nevada, a retiree community about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Along the way, the brothers ate sushi and drank late into the evening, Eric Paddock recalled. But he did not recall his brother bringing a machine gun along with him.
Stephen Paddock lived in Mesquite with his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, police said. She was out of the country during the shooting, and is not believed to have been involved.
A search of Stephen Paddock's home turned up at least 19 additional firearms, explosives and several thousand rounds of ammunition, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Monday night. Several pounds of ammonium nitrate, a material used to make explosives, were found in Paddock's car.
That came as a surprise to one of his former neighbors. "If there was any impression, I would say, guy had no idea what a gun was," said Don Judy, who lived next door to Stephen Paddock from 2013-2015 in a retirement community in Melbourne, Florida.
Paddock never stayed at the house for very long, Judy said. Sometimes he came with his girlfriend, sometimes without.
"He was a gambler and a speculator, and he did that in Vegas," Judy said. Paddock once mentioned that "We're up all night because we gamble," the neighbor added.
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