Stephen Paddock, the perpetrator of the Las Vegas massacre in 2017, had harbored grudges against casinos and had lost considerable amounts of money in the lead up to the tragedy, according to recently released FBI documents. The documents, which were partially redacted, were the result of a year-long investigation by the agency’s behavioral analysis unit concluding in 2019.
The report concluded that there was no single factor that drove Paddock to commit the mass shooting which killed sixty people and wounded hundreds more. It also stated that Paddock took any possible motivations for the atrocity to his grave, as he left no suicide note or manifesto.
Neighbors of Paddock described him as “strange” and said that they rarely saw any lights on in his house, except on occasion in the middle of the night. An associate of Paddock’s told the FBI that he was much distressed by the way casinos had reduced the number of complimentary items they provided to VIP customers and was “personally upset and stressed” about this. The associate suggested that this could have been the trigger for Paddock to “snap”.
Paddock was a real estate millionaire who regularly gambled high stakes in Las Vegas but had seen his bank accounts dwindle from around two million dollars to $530,000 in the two years prior to the attack. He had stayed at the Tropicana Las Vegas for two days just weeks before the shooting and lost $38,000.
In addition to his anger towards casinos, the FBI report also highlighted that Paddock had booked a hotel room overlooking the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago just months before the Las Vegas attack. This suggests that his rage was not solely directed at casinos, and that he may have been scouting out other targets before settling on Las Vegas.
One former colleague of Paddock’s said that he was obsessed with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, in which 168 people died, and that he believed Hitler was a “good man”. This individual further disclosed that Paddock was “mad at the system”, but he did not expect him to retaliate in such a violent manner.
The newly released FBI documents suggest that Stephen Paddock had grown resentful of casinos and had lost thousands of dollars in the lead up to the 2017 massacre in Las Vegas. Although the report did not determine any clear motivation for the attack, it appears that Paddock’s discontentment over the way casinos treated their VIP customers was a contributor, as well as his obsession with the Oklahoma City bombing and admiration of Hitler.