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No Single Motive Found In The Mass Las Vegas Killing, Nation's Worst

New details about Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old gambler who killed 58 Las Vegas concertgoers and wounded hundreds more on Oct. 1, 2017, emerged in a trove of documents the FBI released in response to a Wall Street Journal public records request. The documents don’t explain Paddock’s motive for carrying out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Paddock killed himself after the massacre. The documents include a detailed accounting of the gunman’s gambling habits and shed new light on what was going on in his mind. A fellow gambler told the FBI that Paddock was “very upset at the way casinos were treating him and other high rollers,” noting that casinos had reduced the number of perks they gave to VIP customers in the years leading up to the shooting. The stress could “easily be what caused Paddock to ‘snap,’” the gambler said.

A yearlong probe by a panel convened by the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit found “no clear single motivating factor” for why Paddock opened fire on a country music festival from his 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. The panel said there was no indication that he was motivated by a grievance against “any specific casino, hotel, or institution in Las Vegas.” Paddock wanted to kill himself and sought infamy by killing as many people as he could, the report said. Paddock gambled hundreds of thousands of dollars at Las Vegas casinos in the decade before the shooting. He was known to play video-poker in hourslong sessions. Paddock was friendly, but wanted to talk only about gambling, a Tropicana Las Vegas employee told the FBI. She said Paddock stayed at the Tropicana for nearly a month before the attack and lost $38,000. The documents don't establish a single motive, said Russell Palarea of the threat-assessment firm Operational Psychology Services.


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