Following the shooting in Las Vegas that killed at least 58 people and injured more than 500 at an outdoor country music festival late night on Oct. 1, investigators are looking into what caused the horrific crime.
The shooter was killed during the incident. 64-year-old Stephen Paddock lived in Mesquite on the border of Nevada and Arizona, close to 82 miles north of Las Vegas.
The next step in the investigation, according to Marc Ruskin, former FBI agent and author of “The Pretender: My Life Undercover for the FBI,” will be to create a profile of the killer, and he said it’s likely the FBI is already hard at work in this task.
“The first step the FBI is going to do is interview everybody this guy has ever come into contact with to try to develop a profile,” Ruskin said.
The term “profile” is often confused with the idea of “racial profiling,” but the two have little in common. The FBI has a profiling unit at Quantico, Virginia, and Ruskin said it’s a “valuable tool” in solving crimes.
One goal, he said, is to identify people “who are more likely than others to commit acts of terror, whether they’re politically motivated or not.”
Family members of Paddock are already being identified, and have begun speaking out. Paddock’s brother revealed that their father was a convicted bank robber in Arizona who escaped prison in Texas and worked in a bingo parlor in Oregon.
Paddock’s father, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, went by several nicknames including “Big Daddy” and “Old Baldy.” He was diagnosed as psychopathic and was on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List from 1969 to 1977.
The terrorist group ISIS has taken credit for the attack, and initial reports claimed that Paddock had recently converted to Islam—although neither claim is currently being taken at face value. Paddock’s brother said the killer had no political or religious affiliation.
This is where the criminal profile will come into play, said Ruskin. It can reveal the motivations for a crime, whether they be political, ideological, or otherwise.
From his experience working in the FBI, Ruskin said, “I’m sure they’re developing it as we speak. There will be agents in different offices around the country developing leads on where this guy lived, where he went to school, what jobs he had,” and noted the FBI will interview people “about everything they knew about him, going back to his schoolteachers.”
“It’s obviously going to develop that some characteristics which show he didn’t fit quite right, like a square peg in a round hole,” Ruskin said.
“If it’s not political there could be some business or something that happened to him where he felt he needed to get back, or take vengeance on some slight the world threw at him,” he said. “Maybe he was unsuccessful in life or felt discriminated against somehow and wanted to get back at the world.”
President Donald Trump responded to the tragedy on Oct. 2. “My fellow Americans we are joined together today in sadness, shock, and grief,” he said. “We are praying for you and we are here for you, and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period,” he said about those injured and the families of the victims.
After thanking the Las Vegas police officers and first responders, Trump called the attack “an act of pure evil.”