Vegas shooting: Girlfriend may provide clue to motive

Partner of Las Vegas mass shooter reassures brother of her innocence

She may be the only one who can shed some light on why her boyfriend, Stephen Paddock, killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 in Las Vegas on Sunday night. It is the worst mass killing in the history of the United States.

Ms Marilou Danley, 62, is now being questioned by the authorities after arriving on a flight from the Philippines on Tuesday.

Her brother in the Philippines, Mr Reynaldo Bustos, said she told him she had "a clean conscience", reported ABC's Good Morning America.

He said: "I called her up immediately and she said, 'Relax, we shouldn't worry about it. I'll fix it. Do not panic. I have a clean conscience.'"

Ms Danley's two sisters told 7 News Australia that they believe she was "sent away" so she could not interfere with her boyfriend's plan to open fire on thousands of people.

The sisters, who declined to be named, said they were in total shock to discover their sister had arrived in the Philippines two weeks ago.

"She didn't even know that she was going to the Philippines until Steve said 'Marilou, I found you a cheap ticket to the Philippines'," they told 7 News.

She was sent away. She was away so that she will not be there to interfere with what he's (Stephen Paddock) planning. One of Ms Marilou danley's sisters

One sister said: "She was sent away. She was away so that she will not be there to interfere with what he's planning.

"In that sense, I thank him for sparing my sister's life but that won't be to compensate the 59 people's lives."

With Paddock dead, the sisters said Ms Danley might be the only one who can "put the puzzles together".

The Philippines' National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said the FBI, its US counterpart, had sought its help in finding MsDanley.

"The FBI has coordinated with the Philippine office of Interpol to look for her," NBI spokesman Nick Suarez told AFP.

There was also the matter of US$100,000 (S$136,000) Paddock recently wired to her.

News reports said it was for her life insurance. The NBI said it is helping to look into this.

Ms Danley has ties to the Philippines, where she was born, according to several news reports.

She lived in Queensland, Australia, and was married there before she met and married Mr Geary Danley, and then moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1990. Their marriage lasted 25 years. Both had children from prior relationships.

Speaking to US broadcaster KHBS, her former husband's daughters called her a "good and gentle person". "I know she has to be devastated about what has happened," said one.

Ms Danley then moved to Reno and worked at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa from 2010 to 2013. There she met Paddock, a high-limit player.

In 2013, she left Mr Danley to live with Paddock at a condominium in Reno. Two years later, she divorced Mr Danley.

In Reno, she and Paddock mostly stayed indoors, their shades always drawn shut.

"It wasn't that they were unfriendly. They just didn't socialise," Ms Susan Page, the couple's next-door neighbour, told The York Times.

How Paddock prepared in three days leading to attack

LAS VEGAS: Retiree Stephen Paddock had a plan and knew how to wreak massive carnage at a country music festival on Sunday while holding the police at bay.

Details that emerged about the 64-year-old former accountant in the aftermath of the attack, which killed 58 people and injured more than 500 others, showed a well thought-out plan.

Here is a quick look at how the shooting unfolded:


Paddock checks into a two-room suite on the 32nd storey of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He has at least 10 suitcases in the suite, which might have been used to bring the rifles and ammunition in without notice. A search of the suite after the attack reveals 23 rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and other equipment.

Paddock keeps the "Do Not Disturb" sign on his door for the next three days, so no maids enter the suite, according to a hotel worker.

Meanwhile, Paddock creates a ring of surveillance around him, with video cameras in his suite and in the hallway, law enforcement officials said. The cameras were apparently intended to warn of approaching threats.


9.40pm: Country music singer Jason Aldean begins his performance at Route 91 Harvest, an annual Las Vegas music festival. There are more than 22,000 people in the crowd.

10.08pm: Paddock opens fire on the concertgoers from the windows of his hotel suite, firing long and rapid-fire bursts as people run for their lives, trampling over one another. He is believed to have fired from both rooms to get different angles.

Around 10.18pm: The shooting reportedly stops after about 10 minutes, though estimates vary.

10.24pm: The police locate Paddock's suite and a Special Weapons And Tactics (Swat) team starts preparing to enter it.

10.27pm: Paddock shoots into the hall and a bullet hits a security guard's leg.

11.25pm: The Swat team storms the suite using explosives and finds that Paddock has killed himself. 

Sources: Washington Post, New York Times, Reuters

Shooter got guns easily, legally

WASHINGTON: Forty-seven firearms. Piles of ammunition, and devices that converted assault rifles into automatic weapons that fired like machine guns.

How did Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock, who shot and killed at least 58 people from his 32nd-storey hotel window, amass an arsenal? In the United States, and particularly in states like Nevada, it is easy. And legal.

Though the US is notorious for its lax gun laws, there are restrictions on multiple sales of handguns. But if someone wants to build up a cache of rifles the way Paddock did, they could do so unnoticed.

Most gun sales are by federally licensed vendors who must put buyers through background checks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation will run their name through a national system that refers to three databases of offenders. These are not perfect, relying on often spotty reporting from the states. But if a person's record is clean, he can buy as many guns as he wants.

There are some controls. Licensed gun dealers, who handle perhaps 60 per cent of all firearm sales, have to report multiple handgun sales to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Multiple means two or more guns from the same purchaser in five business days.

But "there is no requirement that law enforcement investigate", said Ms Laura Cutilletta, legal director at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

In Nevada, where gun laws are particularly lax, it would have been easy for Paddock to get the guns he had unnoticed.

But what stood out on Sunday, when Paddock unloaded guns on 22,000 people at a concert, was the rapid pace of fire.

According to reports, he had modified some guns to work like automatic weapons, or machine guns, able to shoot hundreds of rounds a minute with one trigger pull. Automatic weapons have been banned in the US for three decades. But turning a semi-automatic weapon - including assault rifles widely available in US gun shops - into an automatic weapon is easy.

For $40 you can buy a trigger crank, a small device attached to the trigger. It can make the gun fire three or four times with each turn. For $99, you can get a bump stock, a spring-loaded stock that, with one pull of the trigger, keeps the weapon firing using its own recoil. It can enable the weapon to fire at a rate of 600 rounds a minute or more.

These are legal and come with ATF certifications that they do not constitute an illegal conversion of the guns. Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said on Tuesday that Paddock had at least one of the devices.

Paddock also had a lot of ammunition. There are restrictions on sales of only certain ammunition, such as armour-piercing bullets. Otherwise, anyone can buy bullets in volume - no questions asked. - AFP

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