Las Vegas gunman's family in Orlando: ‘There is nothing' to explain what he did

Gunman most recently spoke to his family after Hurricane Irma

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. - "There is nothing," over and over Eric Paddock repeated Monday morning, struggling to describe how his 64-year-old brother, Stephen Paddock, could be responsible for the mass shooting in Las Vegas where more than 50 were killed and hundreds more injured.

Eric Paddock, of Orlando, found out about the shooting and his brother's role just after 1 a.m. EST.

[Watch the full interview in the video player at the top of this story]

"All five of my phones in the house lit up at the same time," Paddock said. It was Las Vegas police contacting the family for information on Stephen. The family is cooperating with police, but Eric Paddock said his brother's life was an "open book" and he has no clue as to why this happened.

'Where the hell did he get automatic weapons?'

Officials said Stephen Paddock opened fire on country concertgoers on the Las Vegas strip just after 10 p.m. He shot himself before officers entered his Mandalay Bay hotel room, according to Las Vegas police.

Inside his room, authorities found a cache of weapons, including 16 rifles, Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.

Based on initial reports one of the rifles used was altered to function as an automatic weapon, a local official said. Among the weapons found were a .223 caliber and a .308 caliber.

At this point, investigators believe the firearms were purchased legally.

Authorities searched Paddock's home in Mesquite on Monday and found 18 more firearms, explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition, Lombardo said.

Eric Paddock said he was equally shocked by the type of weapons found in the hotel room.

“Not an avid gun guy at all," he said of his brother. "The fact that he had these kind of weapons ... where the hell did he get automatic weapons?"

Eric Paddock said Stephen had a few handguns, maybe one long gun, but that they were kept in a safe.

"He has no military background or anything like that. He is a guy who lives in a house in Mesquite, who drove down and gambled in Las Vegas. He did stuff, ate burritos."

Mesquite is about 80 miles northeast from the Las Vegas Strip.

Eric helped Stephen move from his home in Viera, Fla. back to Mesquite, Nevada in 2015.

'$100-a-hand' poker player with homes in four states

The gunman's former Brevard County neighbor Sharon Judy told News 6 that Paddock said he was a professional gambler and made money off of home price speculation.

“He was very, very friendly,” Judy said. “He told us he lived in Las Vegas and said he had a place in Texas and California.”

Paddock's brother, Eric, said he worked as an accountant, but his "job" was a full-time gambler.

"He was a wealthy guy playing video poker... on cruises," his brother said, adding that Stephen could afford anything he wanted and played $100-a-hand poker.

Stephen Paddock won large sums, including one of $250,000, and cars, according to Eric Paddock.

Eric Paddock said that to his knowledge his brother had no history of crime, mental illness.

"He doesn't even have parking tickets, probably," he said."There is not even anything I can say, how do you? I mean my brother did this. This was like, it’s like he shot us. If he had killed my kids I couldn't be more dumbfounded. I mean, it doesn't. There’s nothing."

Stephen Paddock was once employed through defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, the company confirmed in a statement to News 6. His brother said he worked for the company in California.

“Stephen Paddock worked for a predecessor company of Lockheed Martin from 1985 until 1988,” the company said. “We’re cooperating with authorities to answer questions they may have about Mr. Paddock and his time with the company.”

FBI officials said Monday that they had ruled out terrorism as Paddock’s possible motivation. The Islamic State group tried to claim responsibly for his actions, but did not provide any evidence.

According to FBI records, Stephen Paddock is the son of Benjamin Paddock, a convicted bank robber who escaped federal prison in 1969. The elder Paddock was caught in 1978 and died in 1998.

A wanted poster that recently sold on eBay said Benjamin Paddock was “diagnosed as psychopathic, has carried firearms in the commission of bank robberies.  He reportedly has suicidal tendencies and should be considered armed and very dangerous.”

Eric Paddock said the family became estranged from Benjamin Paddock after his birth.

Authorities were also in contact with Stephen Paddock's girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62. Stephen Paddock lived with Danley in Mesquite. She was out of the country when the massacre happened and authorities still want to talk with her more. Monday night Danley was in Tokyo, Lambardo said.

Stephen Paddock was previously married and has no known children. His ex-wife lives in Los Angeles County, California, and has had no contact with him in years, authorities said. They divorced 27 years ago after six years of marriage.

Eric Paddock said they were worried Stephen may have hurt Danley too when they first learned of the mass casualty shooting.

"She’s a nice lady. I’ve met her three or four times," Paddock said of his brother's girlfriend. "She’s got a Facebook page. She sends cookies to my mom."

Most recently, Stephen Paddock spoke to his family in Orlando, including his 90-year-old mother, after Hurricane Irma. The family, like many in Central Florida, was without power for five days.

The last text he sent to his brother was “How’s mom?” “Did you get power?” That was it, Eric Paddock said. Stephen also sent a walker to help his mother, who is having trouble getting around, his brother said.

The family is working with police, but said they feel they have little to offer as an explanation for Stephan Paddock's actions.

"I hope someone finds out, because we’d like to know," Eric Paddock said.

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