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Las Vegas shooter began to act 'strangely' leading up to carnage, girlfriend says, as motive remains a mystery

Las Vegas shooter began to act 'strangely' leading up to carnage, girlfriend says, as motive remains a mystery
Las Vegas resident Nancy Cooley signs a Vegas Strong banner honoring the victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 5, 2017. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

Stephen Paddock gambled large sums of money, kept child pornography on his computer and purchased more than 55 weapons in the year leading up to the largest mass shooting in modern American history.

On Friday, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released an 81-page report that revealed fresh insights into the behaviors and patterns of Paddock prior to the night he opened fire from his 32nd floor room at the Mandalay Bay on Oct. 1, killing 58 people. In all, 871 people were injured, with 422 suffering gunshot wounds.

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Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo — holding his first news conference since mid-October — said he hoped the report would help answer some lingering questions that have given extended life to a variety of conspiracy theories that included the rumor of the massacre being tied to Islamic State or terrorism.

"There was one shooter in the 1 October massacre," Lombardo said. "There was only one person responsible — and that was Stephen Paddock."

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Lombardo said, however, the report would not be able to answer the big question — why Paddock opened fire on the crowd of 22,000 at the concert that night?

He also said that, despite recent revelations through search warrants and affidavits unsealed last week by a federal judge that showed Paddock's girlfriend, Marilou Danley, was investigated heavily as a person of interest, the department wasn't looking to bring any charges against her related to the crime.

The FBI is still investigating the crime and did not return a request for comment. Danley's lawyer did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

However, in a court hearing Tuesday, lawyers seeking to prevent the unsealing of search warrants in state court, revealed that possible criminal charges could be filed related to the shooting within the next two months.

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"As to any other people, the FBI has an ongoing case against an individual of federal interest," Lombardo said.

Danley wasn't in the country at the time of the shooting and had been cooperating with authorities. However, she had told authorities that her fingerprints would be found on ammunition as she helped him load weapons on occasion. Her casino players card was found in Paddock's room after the shooting.

In comments to investigators detailed in the report, Danley painted Paddock as growing "distant" to her over the past year and said their relationship was no longer intimate. She also said she had noticed him behaving strangely during their stay at Mandalay Bay the month before the attack.

The report said she told investigators Paddock was constantly looking out the windows of the room, which overlooked the site where the Route 91 Harvest country music festival took place weeks later. She also told investigators he would move from window to window, as if studying the angles.

Lombardo said because the shooting was unusual, he broke with typical protocol by choosing to release the preliminary investigative report. He said a final report would be released at a future date.

Four laptops were found in Paddock's rooms, along with three cell phones. The report showed Paddock had searched other sites that he might have also been looking to target. Searches included Fenway Park in Boston, "summer concerts 2017" and "biggest open air concert venues in USA." Another query found on a laptop asked: "How crowded does Santa Monica Beach get?"

One laptop included "several hundred images" of child pornography on the hard drive. After the shooting, Paddock's brother, Bruce Paddock, was arrested in Los Angeles for possessing child pornography.

Guns, however, were a significant component of Paddock's life, according to the report. Guns were a hobby, Danley told investigators.

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In the 34 years prior to September 2016, Paddock had purchased 29 firearms. But in the following 11 months, he bought more than 55 firearms and more than 100 accessories, including scopes, cases, bump stocks and ammunition.

In the room, police found 23 guns. Of those, a dozen had been fitted with the bump stock — a device used to simulate automatic firing that has been the subject of scrutiny by lawmakers in the wake of the shooting.

He fired more than 1,100 rounds from his room at the Mandalay Bay and investigators found more than 4,000 rounds of unused ammunition. Authorities also found explosives and ammunition for both AR-15 and AR-10 type rifles.

While Lombardo said that Paddock's motive for the shooting remained unknown, he stood by statements he made earlier that the gunman had lost large sums of money prior to the shooting.

"That may have been a driving factor," Lombardo said.

Paddock was a heavy gambler, often betting thousands of dollars a hand at video poker — his game of choice. He earned complimentary rooms at several casino properties on the Las Vegas Strip and in Reno, where he also had a residence.

He also had lines of credit at several casino properties and didn't have any outstanding debts.

The report also showed that investigators spoke with Paddock's doctor, who last saw him a year prior to the shooting. The doctor told investigators Paddock was "odd" and showed "little emotion." The doctor told investigators he suspected Paddock might have bipolar disorder, but the report said Paddock didn't want to talk about it.

Paddock also refused anti-depressant prescriptions but did take prescribed drugs for anxiety. The doctor, according to the report, said Paddock appeared fearful of medications and often refused to take them. The report indicated Paddock was not abusing drugs.

Danley described Paddock to investigators as a "germaphobe," and said he had strong reactions to smells. His ex-wife described him as intelligent and great with numbers, according to the report.

The report also shows Paddock may have "consistently felt ill, in pain or fatigued." His doctor told investigators, however, that the only major ailment Paddock had in recent memory was a muscle tear, the result of a fall at a casino three years earlier.

Lombardo said Las Vegas police had investigated 1,965 leads, reviewed 21,560 hours of video and obtained more than 251,000 images, including those acquired by the FBI. Investigators interviewed 43 people directly associated with Paddock, including family, gambling associates and acquaintances. The report also detailed 529 sightings of Paddock.

The last sighting came when police breached the door at the Mandalay Bay and found him in a long sleeve brown shirt, black pants, black gloves and gray shoes — dead.

He was on his back, arms at his sides and a rifle under his legs — surrounded by spent casings and a blood-spattered revolver by his head. Paddock left no suicide note. No manifesto.

Just questions.

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Twitter: @davemontero

UPDATES:

4 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about the shooter released in a report Friday.

This article was originally published at 10:50 a.m.

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