On Monday, as Americans tried to make sense of a massacre in Las Vegas that left more than 50 dead and 400 injured, CBS News spoke with the shooter’s brother, Eric Paddock, from his home in Orlando, Florida. Eric said he was overwhelmed and stunned by the massacre and said it was completely out of character for his sibling Stephen.
“He was not an avid gun guy at all. The fact that he has those kind of weapons is just, where the hell did he get automatic weapons?” Eric marveled when talking to CBS reporters. “He has no military background.
“He was a guy who lived in Mesquite and drove down to Vegas and gambled. He did stuff … ate burritos,” he added.
“Not an avid gun guy at all…where the hell did he get automatic weapons? He has no military background,” gunman’s brother says pic.twitter.com/EMSKLQGYFM
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 2, 2017
“He was my brother. He was a guy. He gambled. He was nice to my kids when they went out to Vegas,” Eric told CBS. “He sends his mom cookies. There’s nothing else to say … I would love to be able to give some reason for this.”
Reporters pressed about whether Stephen had been upset about politics or suffered from mental illness, but Eric insisted there was no there, there.
“No religious affiliation. No political affiliation. He just hung out,” he said.
In additional comments to the Daily Mail, Eric suggested that his brother had probably “snapped.”
“Something happened, he snapped or something,” Paddock said. “We know absolutely nothing, this is just, we are dumbfounded.”
The reports contradict claims from the terrorist group ISIS, which said Paddock had converted to Islam several months earlier — thus suggesting the massacre has been committed in their name.
Without providing evidence, Islamic State claims Las Vegas attack, says shooter converted to Islam months ago. https://t.co/6DrudYGLoq
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 2, 2017
Police say Stephen Paddock took his own life as they closed in on his perch on the 32d floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
Paddock, who lived in Mesquite, Nevada, is believed to have acted alone. A woman described as a companion, 62-year-old Marilou Danley has been described by authorities as a “person of interest” but is not believed to have any additional involvement.
“He was utilizing some of her identification and we’ve had conversation with her and believe her — at this time — not to be involved,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo said during a press conference early Monday morning.