Vegas shooting papers hint some may have encountered gunman

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Police documents released Wednesday about the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history included reports from at least two people who said a person they believed to be the gunman ranted in the days prior to last October’s Las Vegas Strip attack about the federal government and gun control.

The claims by those people and others could not be verified because the names of all witnesses were blacked out in the 1,200 pages of police reports and accounts that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department made public after losing court battles to keep them secret.

However, based on what police released during this latest round of discovery, it’s understandable why law enforcement is having a hard time pinning down Stephen Paddock’s motive.

A pool attendant describes several interactions with Paddock and his girlfriend Marilou Danley over the years.  According to the attendant, says Paddock doesn’t say anything, he just kind of waves.

That attendant told police they were surprised to learn he was the 1 October shooter. 

In a handwritten account, a woman said she overheard a man she later said was Paddock talking with another man at a Las Vegas restaurant just three days before the massacre. She told police that Paddock seemed angry about the 1990s standoffs at Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge in Idaho.

“At the time, I just thought ‘strange guys’ and I wanted to leave,” said the woman.

A housekeeper at the Mandalay Bay was questioned about whether or not Paddock gave her anything from his computer to throw away the Wednesday before the shooting.  Her answer was no.

The woman went on to describe Paddock as creepy, as she described her discomfort at Paddock sitting at a table eating soup and staring at her as she cleaned his hotel room four days before the shooting.

However, a host at a restaurant had a different account of Paddock. The server brought him drinks on Friday, which was two days before the shooting, and she said Paddock was nice and didn’t talk much.

AVIP Casino host at Caesars said he had dealt with Paddock several times in the last few years, and according to him, Paddock played the machines that had higher probabilities of paying out.  However, he stopped coming for a while when they took the machines out of the casino.

The host went on to recall a time that he received an angry call from Paddock.  But, he said the issue was so minor, he didn’t remember what it was about. However, he did conclude that “he had a bit of a temper on him.” 

A jailed man whose gave a statement in November to police and the FBI recalled a man he believed to be Paddock telling him that Federal Emergency Management Agency “camps” set up after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were “a dry run for law enforcement and military to start kickin’ down doors and … confiscating guns.”

“Somebody has to wake up the American public and get them to arm themselves,” the man said Paddock told him less than a month before the Oct. 1 shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds. “Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.”

Police and the FBI have not determined a motive in the ongoing investigation. Authorities said they believe Stephen Paddock acted alone and the attack had no link to international terrorism. Law enforcement refused Wednesday to provide any additional information including refusing to say whether the reports were credible.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said early this month the police investigation was not finished. He also apologized to the public for the release of information that he said would “further traumatize a wounded community.”

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