Brother of Las Vegas Shooter Says Family Is Dumbfounded
The brother of the shooter who killed more than 50 people in Las Vegas on Sunday night said that his family was dumbfounded by the news.
“He was just a guy,” Eric Paddock told Daily Mail. “Something happened, he snapped or something.”
Police identified local resident Stephen Paddock, 64, as the gunman who opened fire from a 32nd-floor window of Mandalay Hotel on a crowd of people attending a country music festival. Paddock killed more than 50 people and wounded at least 406 before police stormed his hotel room and he apparently took his own life.
The killer’s brother said there was “absolutely no indication he could do something like this” and that Paddock had no political or religious affiliation.
“We know absolutely nothing,” Eric Paddock said from his home in Orlando, Florida. “We are dumbfounded.”
Police received the first reports of the shooting at 10:08 p.m. Rapid shooting, likely from a machine gun, can be heard in videos filmed by concert goers.
“We have absolutely no idea,” the brother said. “Our condolences go to the victims and all their families.”
Thousands were in attendance on the third day of a country music festival. The shooting became the deadliest in U.S. history, eclipsing last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub.
“Our family is OK, we’re sitting in here in our house hoping that everyone doesn’t attack us,” Eric Paddock said. “My mother is 90 years old, lives down the street from me, we’re just completely dumbfounded. You can imagine how this is affected her.”
Paddock had more than 10 rifles in his hotel room, police say.
Authorities had earlier regarded Paddock’s roommate as a person of interest, but later on Monday said they no longer regarded her as involved in the case, CNN and Fox News reported, citing police sources.
The dead included one off-duty police officer, said Joseph Lombardo, the Clark County sheriff. Two on-duty officers were injured, including one who was in stable condition after surgery and one who sustained minor injuries, Lombardo said. Police warned the death toll may rise.
Police are still finding people who had taken cover during the attack, Lombardo said.
“It’s going to take time for us to get through the evacuation phase,” Lombardo said.
‘Just Kept Going On’
Video taken of the attack showed panicked crowds fleeing as sustained rapid gunfire ripped through the area.
“It sounded like fireworks. People were just dropping to the ground. It just kept going on,” said Steve Smith, a 45-year-old visitor from Phoenix, Arizona, who had flown in for the concert. He said the gunfire went on for an extended period of time.
“Probably 100 shots at a time. It would sound like it was reloading and then it would go again,” Smith said. “People were shot and trying to get out. A lot of people were shot.”
Las Vegas’s casinos, nightclubs, and shopping draw some 3.5 million visitors from around the world each year and the area was packed with visitors when the shooting broke out shortly after 10 p.m. local time (0400 GMT).
Mike McGarry, a 53-year-old financial adviser from Philadelphia, was at the concert when he heard hundreds of shots ring out.
“It was crazy – I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good life,” McGarry said. The back of his shirt bore footmarks after people ran over him in the panicked crowd.
The shooting broke out on the final night of the three-day Route 91 Harvest festival, a sold-out event attended by thousands and featuring top acts such as Eric Church, Sam Hunt, and Jason Aldean.
“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” Aldean said in a statement on Instagram. “It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”
U.S. President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the victims via a post on Twitter early Monday.
“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” Trump said.
The rampage was reminiscent of a mass shooting at a Paris rock concert in November 2015 that killed 89 people, part of a wave of coordinated attacks by Islamist militants that left 130 dead.
The concert venue was in an outdoor area known as Las Vegas Village, across the Strip from the Mandalay Bay and the Luxor hotels.
“Our thoughts & prayers are with the victims of last night’s tragic events,” the Mandalay Bay said on Twitter.
Shares of U.S. casino operators fell in premarket trading on Wall Street, with MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay, down 5 percent. Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, Wynn Resorts Ltd, and Las Vegas Sands Corp each fell 1 to 2 percent.
Reuters contributed to this report.