Las Vegas, Oct 4 (IANS) Stephen Paddock, the gunman who massacred dozens of people in Las Vegas on Sunday, was a high-stakes gambler who wired thousands of dollars to the Philippines — the home country of his girlfriend Marilou Danley — just days before the shooting, a federal official said.
The authorities could not confirm to whom the transactions were intended. On Tuesday, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents met Danley, a “person of interest” in the case, at Los Angeles International Airport after she arrived on a flight from the Philippines, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
As police scramble to identify a motive for the attack on a music concert at the Mandalay Bay Hotel that killed at least 59 people and injured 527, officers focused on financial transactions carried out by the 64-year-old retired accountant.
Paddock sent the money to the Philippines last week, authorities in Manila said on Wednesday, citing the FBI.
Investigators said Paddock had installed at least three video cameras in his 32-floor hotel suite and in the hallway outside of it before the shooting, apparently to keep an eye on potential threats.
Speaking for the first time on Tuesday night, Danley’s family said they believed Paddock had sent her away to her relatives deliberately in the run up to the attacks.
“I know she didn’t know anything as well like us. She was sent away. She was away so that she will be not there to interfere with what he’s planning,” her sisters said in an interview with Australia’s Channel 7 News.
Danley was not arrested on her arrival at Las Vegas airport, but agents were expected to speak to her in an attempt to discover what led Paddock to carry out the worst mass shooting in American history.
A Philippines immigration spokeswoman said Danley arrived in the Philippines on September 25 on a flight from Hong Kong. That was nearly a week before Paddock carried out the attack.
Investigators at the hotel from which Paddock launched his assault found no fewer than 23 guns, including a Kalashnikov and AR-15 assault rifles, and a vast stockpile of military grade .223 calibre ammunition. In total, across three locations, 47 firearms were recovered.
Pictures emerged from the hotel room showing Paddock lying dead, surrounded by weapons and spent ammunition. Police said they believed he had used 10 suitcases to smuggle the weapons up to the room.
The shooting also sparked debate over US gun laws, but President Donald Trump said the discussion over what, if anything, needs to be done was “not for now”.
With hundreds of victims still hospitalised, officials said the death toll was likely to rise.