FBI Docs Suggest Motive for Las Vegas Shooter

Acquaintance interviews reveal Stephen Paddock was upset over treatment by casinos
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2023 12:49 PM CDT
FBI Docs Suggest Motive for Las Vegas Shooter
Broken windows from the Mandalay Bay resort and casino room from where Stephen Paddock fired on a nearby music festival are shown in Las Vegas, Oct. 3, 2017.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Documents newly released by the FBI "provide the strongest indication yet of a motive" for the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, USA Today reports. Though an FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit concluded there was "no single or clear motivating factor" that drove 64-year-old Stephen Paddock to rain bullets on a Las Vegas festival crowd from a corner suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in October 2017, killing 58 people and later himself, an acquaintance said the high-stakes gambler was "very upset" about his treatment by casinos, which could "easily be what caused Paddock to 'snap.'"

In particular, the Mandalay Bay hotel, where Paddock had four reservations in the month prior to the shooting, "was not treating Paddock well because a player of his status should have been in a higher floor in a penthouse suite," the fellow gambler told the FBI. Casinos had previously offered high-rollers perks, including free flights and penthouse suites, per CBS News. But some had changed course, moving to ban the gamblers. According to the FBI, Paddock had been banned from three casinos in Reno: the Atlantis, Peppermill, and Tamaric Junction.

A second acquaintance said Paddock claimed to have been banned from casinos for having "made too much money from them." The person, who described gambling as Paddock's main source of income, said he'd purchased a handgun for protection because "he had been earning a lot of cash." Yet his funds had declined rapidly. "A look at 14 of his bank accounts showed he had $2.1 million in September 2015 but only about $530,000 two years later," per USA Today. Just two weeks before the shooting, Paddock, a "prolific video poker player," had lost $38,000 during a three-day stay at the Tropicana Las Vegas, an employee told the FBI, per CNN.

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In a Thursday statement, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said the documents don't provide any new insights into the case and "speculating on a motive causes more harm to the hundreds of people who were victims that night," per the Las Vegas Review Journal. Shooting survivor Brittany Castrejon tells the outlet that the idea that Paddock was motivated by disrespect from casinos sounds like "bullshit" and it's more likely that "he was just pure evil." Per the Review Journal, one person told the FBI that Paddock "was fascinated with the two Oklahoma City bombers and thought Adolf Hitler was a good man." (He was reportedly in search of infamy.)

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