WARNING: Graphic photos below.

The body of shooter Stephen Craig Paddock, who carried out the most deadly mass shooting in American history in Las Vegas on Sunday, was found stretched out in his room at the Mandalay Bay casino/hotel, an apparent suicide. He was wearing a brown long-sleeve shirt, black trousers, loafer, and black gloves. Paddock is believed to have taken his own life before SWAT officers broke down the door to his 32nd floor suite from which he shot to death 59 people and injured hundreds more.

In what is purportedly a crime scene photo, Paddock is seen on the floor of the room with blood streaming from his mouth and over his face. Around his body are numerous spent bullet casings. Also visible in the photo is a silver-colored revolver with black grips.

Found near Paddock’s body were rifles equipped with bipods, as well as more than a dozen  magazines in neat stacks. According to various reports, he had as many as 23 firearms in his room and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Also on the scene was a hammer, which he presumably used to break out two windows in his suite. He is believed to have fired from both of those vantage points, shooting down on the approximately 22,000 concertgoers who were listening to country singer Jason Aldean.

One of the assault rifles had a so-called 'bump stock' added to it - making effectively fully automatic. This would have allowed him to fire hundreds of rounds per minute. Video and audio taken at the scene of the crime attested to the rapid fire. A veteran of the war in Afghanistan who was two floors down from the shooter said the shooting sounded like automatic fire.

One of the guns has markings that indicate that it was manufactured by Daniel Defense, which is based in Savannah, Georgia. The company manufactures variants of the AR-15 rifle. There were four DDM4 rifles made by Daniel Defense reportedly found on the scene. In addition, there were three FN-15 rifles, one Colt AR-15, and an AK-47. 

Also found on the scene were illegal two “bump” stocks. These modify semi-automatic weapons to fire at nearly the rate of automatic fire. Fitting over the stock of a semi-auto rifle, a bump stock allows the weapon to bump back and forth as it is fired by using the rifle's recoil. Each bump brings the shooter's finger down on the trigger, thus firing a round. This allows shooters to circumvent federal regulations that prohibit full-automatic weapons.

SWAT officers located Paddock approximately 72 minutes after the beginning of the deadly attack. Reportedly, Paddock had positioned cameras in the hallway leading to his suite to notify him of the arrival of police. There was one camera located in a room service cart just outside his door. 

 

When police used a minor explosive to breach his door, they said that he fired through the door at them. However, when police entered the room, he had reportedly taken his own life. 

Paddock reportedly had made a small fortune in real estate, while some media outlets have qualified him as a “millionaire.” He had no criminal record, and his brother Eric has said he had not religious or political affiliations. Eric Paddock said he and his brother had a real-estate business for decades. When it was sold, Stephen profited by about $2 million. “He’s a multimillionaire,” Eric said. “He helped me become affluent, he made me wealthy.”

Stephen was married for several years in the late ’80s but had no children. Later, he and Marilou Danley -- who is now considered a person of interest in the case -- were living in at least three retirement communities. Paddock also owned two single-engine planes, and had a pilot’s license and a fishing license in Alaska. He had resided in Mesquite, Nevada, just before the incident in Las Vegas.

Paddock had no criminal record, but his father spent eight years on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list. Patrick Benjamin Paddock — a.k.a. “Big Daddy” and “Chrome Dome” — was a bank robber who he was charged in 1960 with stealing $25,000 from three bank branches in Phoenix, Arizona. He was convicted a year later and sentenced to 20 years in prison. However, in 1968, the elder Paddock escaped from federal prison in Texas. His FBI Most Wanted poster warned that he was “diagnosed as psychopathic,” “reportedly has suicidal tendencies,” and “should be considered armed and very dangerous.”

About a decade later, the feds found the elder Paddock in Oregon, operating a bingo parlor and several other illicit businesses under the pseudonym Bruce Ericksen. Paddock was released on parole after serving just one year in prison. In 1987, he faced civil racketeering charges over his bingo business, and was fined $100,000. He died in 1998.

Court records show Stephen Paddock sued the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Resorts in Las Vegas in 2012. He claimed that he had sustained injuries when he slipped and fell in the hotel in 2011. Paddock originally sued for $100,000 to cover $32,000 in alleged medical bills and for pain and suffering. The arbitrator decided against Paddock, in favor of the casino, in 2014. Attorney Marty Kravitz, who represented the hotel, described Paddock as “unkempt” and “slovenly and careless.” 

Below is a video tour of the suite used by Paddock, recorded by an unrelated party:




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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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