- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2017

The worst mass murderer in U.S. history was a wealthy retiree who liked to play $100-a-hand poker and had no criminal record in the Nevada county where he lived.

Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, was estranged from his family and lived with a 62-year-old woman in a one-story, three-bedroom home about 80 miles north of Las Vegas that he purchased in 2015 for about $370,000. The woman, Marilou Danley, was in the Philippines when he carried out the massacre.

The gunman’s brother, Eric Paddock, said Stephen Paddock was a big spender at casinos and often received free rooms and meals from the casinos.

He described the wealth of his multimillionaire brother as substantial, said it included real estate and that he managed property for relatives.

“He was a guy who had money. He went on cruises and gambled,” Eric Paddock said, adding that Stephen Paddock recently sent a walker by mail to his 90-year-old mother in Florida.

Mr. Paddock said relatives are “completely dumbfounded” by the crime and that Stephen Paddock had never shown violent tendencies.

SEE ALSO: Marilou Danley didn’t know Stephen Paddock attack plans

“We don’t understand,” Eric Paddock told the Orlando Sentinel. “We are shocked. We are horrified.”

Stephen Paddock liked to pay high-stakes video poker, and once texted his brother that he won $250,000 at a casino. But his family didn’t know whether Stephen Paddock had significant gaming debts.

NBC News reported that Stephen Paddock gambled more than $10,000 per day on multiple occasions, and in some cases amounts more than $20,000 and $30,000 at Las Vegas casinos.

The Paddock family is working with police to try to ascertain a motive, but his brother called the gunman “just a guy.”

“It’s his fault that he did this,” Eric Paddock told reporters. “But I’d like to know where he found the machine gun. He has no criminal record, no affiliations with anything. Find out who sold him the machine gun.”

The suspect’s father, the late Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, was a bank robber who spent years on the FBI’s most-wanted list, said Eric Paddock. The FBI lists the father as being on the FBI’s most-wanted list from June 10, 1969 until May 5, 1977. Benjamin Paddock died in 1998.

SEE ALSO: Las Vegas shooting sounded like full automatic machine gun fire

Authorities in Texas said Stephen Paddock lived in a Dallas suburb from 2004 to 2012. He had previously lived in the Orlando, Florida, area.

Paddock was divorced 27 years ago after six years of marriage, and did not have children. His ex-wife lives in Los Angeles County, California, and has had no contact with him in years, authorities said.

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin released a statement saying Paddock worked for the company in the 1980s.

“Stephen Paddock worked for a predecessor company of Lockheed Martin from 1985 until 1988,” the company said. “We’re cooperating with authorities to answer questions they may have about Mr. Paddock and his time with the company.”

The suspect had a pilot’s license but he was not up to date on his medical certification which he would need in order to fly legally, a federal official told CNN. The FAA website shows that the last time he went to get the medical certification required for private pilots who want to fly was February 2008, so he could not have flown legally recently.

A police search of Paddock’s home in Mesquite found weapons and ammunition, although authorities did not give a detailed description of the firearms.

Neighbors described Paddock as a loner, and that Ms. Danley was his girlfriend. Authorities say they don’t believe she was involved in the crime, but they want to speak with her when she returns to the U.S.

“We still consider her a person of interest. We have been in contact with her and we plan to engage her upon her return to the country,” Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.

• This article is based in part on wire-service reports.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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