By Ken Ritter, Michael Balsamo and Brian Melley / Associated Press
LAS VEGAS — The girlfriend of the Las Vegas gunman said Wednesday she had no idea of the massacre he was plotting when he sent her on a trip abroad to see her family.
Marilou Danley issued the statement after returning from her native Philippines and being questioned for much of the day by FBI agents. She was out of the country for more than two weeks.
She said she was initially pleased when Stephen Paddock wired her money in the Philippines to buy a house for her family, but she later feared it was a way to break up with her.
“It never occurred to me in any whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone,” Danley said in a statement read by her attorney Matthew Lombard outside FBI headquarters in Los Angeles.
She also said: “He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen.”
Danley spoke with the FBI for several hours as investigators struggled to get inside the mind of Paddock, a frustratingly opaque figure who carried out his high-rise massacre without leaving the plain-sight clues often found after major acts of bloodshed.
Danley, 62, who has been called a “person of interest” by investigators.
Investigators are busy reconstructing Paddock’s life, behavior and the people he encountered in the weeks leading up to the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said. That includes examining his computer and cellphone.
But as of Wednesday, investigators were unable to explain what led Paddock to rain heavy fire down on a country music festival Sunday night from the windows of his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay hotel casino. He killed himself as police closed in. The attack left more than 500 people injured.
“This individual and this attack didn’t leave the sort of immediately accessible thumbprints that you find on some mass casualty attacks,” McCabe said.
The 64-year-old retired accountant quietly stockpiled an arsenal of high-powered weapons while pursuing a passion for high-stakes gambling at Nevada casinos, where his game of choice was video poker, a relatively solitary pursuit with no dealer and no humans to play against.
Neighbors described Paddock as friendly, but he wasn’t close to them.
“He was a private guy. That’s why you can’t find out anything about him,” his brother, Eric Paddock, said from his home in Florida. As for what triggered the massacre, the brother said: “Something happened that drove him into the pit of hell.”
Occasionally, Paddock shared news of his gambling winnings, his brother said, recalling a photo text message he received showing a $40,000 payout.
It was in a casino where Paddock met his girlfriend, who was a high-limit hostess for Club Paradise at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Eric Paddock told The Washington Post.
Paddock wired $100,000 to the Philippines days before the shooting, a U.S. official not authorized to speak publicly because of the continuing investigation said on condition of anonymity. Investigators are trying to trace that money.
Also, casino regulators are looking closely at Paddock’s gambling habits and checking their records to see whether he had any disputes with casinos or fellow patrons. In addition, investigators are examining a dozen financial reports filed in recent weeks when he bought more than $10,000 in casino chips.
Paddock had no known criminal history. Public records contained no indication of any financial problems, and his brother described him as a wealthy real estate investor.
“I believe, based on what I have been told, the issue was not that he was under financial stress,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump met privately with victims at a Las Vegas hospital Wednesday and then with police officers and dispatchers, praising them and the doctors who treated the wounded.
He didn’t address those grieving until the end of his visit, when he called it a “very sad day for me personally.”
“Our souls are stricken with grief for every American who lost a husband or a wife, a mother or a father, a son or a daughter,” he said. “We know that your sorrow feels endless. We stand together to help you carry your pain.”
Paddock had stockpiled 47 guns since 1982 and bought 33 of them, mostly rifles, over the past year alone, right up until three days before the attack, Jill Snyder, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told CBS on Wednesday.
Melley reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Jim Gomez and Teresa Cerojano in Manila, Philippines; Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles; and Richard Lardner, Eric Tucker, Sadie Gurman and Tami Abdollah in Washington contributed to this report.
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