LAS VEGAS -- (KTLA) -- The last time Eric Paddock heard from his brother, Stephen Paddock had texted to find out how their 90-year-old mother was doing.
It was mid-September and Hurricane Irma had cut power in the Orlando, Florida, neighborhood where she lived. Stephen Paddock, who lived in Nevada, followed up with a call to their mother. Later, he sent her a walker to help her get around, Eric Paddock said.
About two weeks after the text, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock would be dead of a self-inflicted gunshot after police say he opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas.
The news doesn’t square with Eric Paddock’s image of his older brother, he told reporters Monday — a poker-playing accountant and real estate investor with no apparent political or religious affiliation, “as far as I know,” he hastened to add.
To his brother, Stephen was “just a guy,” an “army of one” with no known children despite a string of relationships. Someone you might see nursing a drink alone at a bar. Someone who went on cruises and played $100-a-hand video poker. Someone who sent boxes of cookies to his mother.
“There’s absolutely no way I could conceive that my brother would shoot a bunch of people that he didn’t know,” Eric Paddock said outside his home Monday, shaking his head as he fumbled for words.
“Something just incredibly wrong happened to my brother.”
Various agencies are investigating what led Stephen Paddock to shoot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of some 22,000 concertgoers. Paddock killed more than 50 people and wounded more than 500.
He had apparently “preplanned extensively” for the attack, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
Las Vegas police said they did not know Stephen Paddock’s name before the shooting and they believe he acted alone. He bought multiple firearms in the past, but investigators believe the firearms were purchased legally, a law enforcement official said. A Mesquite store, Guns & Guitars, said it sold a gun to Paddock and that “he never gave any indication or reason to believe he was unstable or unfit at any time.”