Just hours after Stephen Paddock. 64, was accused of opening fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night (Oct.1), killing at least 50 and injuring more than 406, the alleged shooter’s brother, Eric Hudson Paddock, of Orlando, Florida, said he had “no idea” why his sibling used high-powered automatic weapons to shoot into a crowd of 22,000 music fans at the country festival on the Las Vegas strip.
“Mars just fell into the earth. We’re completely dumbfounded,” Eric Paddock told NBC News on Monday morning (Oct. 2). Paddock described his brother as “just a guy” who went to Vegas hotels and gambled and went to shows. “We are completely at a loss.” NBC reported that Paddock, who lived in a retirement community around 80 miles northeast of the city, was a licensed pilot who owned several planes and had a hunting license from Alaska. Eric Paddock told the Orlando Sentinel that the last time he spoke to his brother was after Hurricane Irma and in an ABC News interview, he said that there is “exactly no reason for this” and that there are “no secrets” in his brother’s past. “As they drill into his life, there will be nothing to be found.”
In an interview with CBS News, Eric Paddock said his brother was “not an avid gun guy at all.. where the hell did he get automatic weapons? He has no military background or anything like that.” His brother denied Paddock was connected to any “political organization, religious organization, no white supremacist as far as I know.” He went on to say his brother was a “wealthy guy” who “went on cruises [and] sent his mother cookies.”
Police believe that Paddock used an automatic weapon in the killing spree and said they found at least 10 rifles and ammunition in his 32nd floor hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, which was just across the street from the festival site.
“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
In a press briefing on Monday morning, Quinn Averett of the Mesquite Police Department said there were “some weapons” and ammunition found in a search of Paddock’s home, though he did not specify what quantity or type were located. Otherwise, he said, the home was “clean” and there was nothing of note to mention. Averett noted that the house is located in a retirement community where the typical resident is 55 years old or older and that it was in a newer part of the community on a quiet cul de sac with just a handful of other residences.
Averett stressed that police had no prior contact, including traffic stops or arrests, with Paddock or Marilou Danley, 62, a woman who has been described as the alleged shooter’s girlfriend/companion and who was known to reside in that home; police located Danley on Monday morning and spoke to her and they don’t believe she was involved in the planning of the ambush shooting. Averett also described how the surrounding homes were evacuated during the search for the resident’s safety and that at press time none of the neighbors had stepped forward to offer any potential evidence in the case. Police are not sure how long Paddock resided in the home, which Averett described as being in a “beautiful, clean area.”