MemoryHoled is a series which investigates stories that dominated the headlines before suddenly disappearing with many questions still left unanswered. In these stories we will lay out the official narrative and examine the unanswered questions and unsatisfactory answers. No claims will be made that we know the ultimate truth of these events, only that there is still more truth to be discovered.
Today marks the third anniversary of the largest mass shooting in American history. That night a lone gunmen opened fire on an unsuspecting crowd of festivalgoers leaving dozens dead and hundreds more injured. This horrific event received nonstop coverage from the mainstream media for a couple of weeks and politicians enacted new laws, which they claimed would prevent this from ever happening again and then, just as quickly, the story dropped out of sight. Details would still continue to trickle out after the frenzy died down which cast into doubt what the public was told about who Stephen Paddock was and about what really happened in Last Vegas that night. Those inconsistencies still need examining.
Official Account of the Las Vegas Shooting
Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old resident of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. Paddock fired over 1,000 rounds killing approximately 60 attendees over the course of 10 minutes while injuring hundreds more. Additionally, he fired at several jet fuel tanks on the west side of McCarran International Airport. The final fatality was Paddock himself when he committed suicide. No motive was ever given for the shooting.
Who Was Stephen Paddock?
In the days after the shooting a picture of Stephen Paddock was assembled by the mainstream media. One of the most glaring oddities of the coverage was the lack of details that emerged as part of this narrative. Volumes have been written about history’s infamous assassins, terrorists, and serial killers but Paddock’s life amounts to a few loosely connected details. What did make it out was often more puzzling than satisfying with regards to why a man like this would go on to become a mass murderer.
The man we were presented with was a retiree who’s net worth from real estate and gambling allowed him to live a relatively comfortable and quiet life. He was unknown to law enforcement and neighbors mostly remarked that he kept to himself. Curiously, in addition to his work in real estate, Paddock previously held several federal jobs at the Post Office and IRS as well as a stint at a “predecessor company” of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, two of the the world’s largest defense contractors.
He had no known political or religious affiliations though there are many allegations which claim the opposite. The narrative that he was a right-wing extremist is largely based on testimony from two unidentified people who claimed to have met him in his final days. Equally, right-wing pundits wanted to pin down Paddock as a rabid ANTIFA member who hated Trump. The basis from these claims comes from anonymous FBI sources so it needs to be taken with a massive grain of salt.
Paddock was an avid gun owner. He had a hunting license and was known to visit gun ranges occasionally though no explanation is given as to how someone with no known military background or outstanding marksmanship could have pulled off such a sophisticated assault. Paddock sustained fire for 10 consecutive minutes during which time he shot off over 1,000 rounds resulting in hundreds of causalities which would seemingly require a fair amount of expertise and training to pull off. Supposedly in the days leading up to the shooting Paddock made cryptic remarks to a man, who’s identity is only known by law enforcement, about Americans “needing to wake up” to potentially being disarmed by the government. A former acquaintance claims Paddock told him he had a “gun room” at his Mesquite home but that the acquaintance never entered the room.
This is fairly damning against a man who is said to have carried out the Vegas shooting but it leaves out some important context. Gun ownership is commonplace in America and the right to protect one’s self from the state is believed sacred by some, stemming from it’s inclusion in the Constitution. Millions of Americans could check these boxes themselves and yet they don’t go on murderous rampages.
Gambler or Gunrunner?
Ultimately the FBI would go on to claim that Paddock was solely responsible for the massacre but they could find no motive for the shooting and closed their investigation. The conclusion that an old man with a penchant for video poker would snap one day and unleash hell upon an unsuspecting crowd of country music fans is hardly satisfying. This has given rise to theories about Paddock being part of a gunrunning operation gone wrong or possible intelligence asset. As one would expect when investigating a possible intelligence link there is no indisputable evidence but it’s reasonable to believe there’s more to the story.
Let’s return a moment to Paddock’s interesting employment history. He had worked for the Post Office, IRS, and a “predecessor company” of Lockheed Martin before gambling and real estate became his main sources of income. There’s no smoking gun here but this does give some credence to alternative theories. In short the theory goes that Paddock would have been recruited during his tenure as a government employee, most likely at the Lockheed Martin predecessor, and then covered his tracks by laundering money through gambling winnings and cash real estate transactions. The many empty houses he owned around the country would have been used as safe houses for cash or guns.
After the shooting it was discovered that Paddock had a pilot’s license and owned two planes. One of the planes previously registered to Paddock then passed into the hands of Volant LLC based in Roanoke, Virginia. There is speculation that this company, information on which is almost nonexistent, meaning it could be a shell company or simply a benign legal entity. Further speculation ties it to Department of Defense contractor, Volant Associates in nearby Chantilly, Virginia but this remains speculation. That said, we know the CIA and DEA are no stranger to using airplanes, small airports, entire airlines in their clandestine operations.
Much has also been said in this regard about Marilou Danley, Paddock’s girlfriend at the time of the shooting. In 2018 True Pundit ran an intriguing but thinly sourced story claiming she worked for the FBI but other than an Intelius report noting the FBI as a former employer nothing else can be confirmed.
Again, there is no conclusive evidence that shows Paddock to be a card carrying member of the FBI or CIA but when subtext is applied to this man’s life it’s conceivable that there is more to the story than we’re told. The rabbit hole goes much deeper when the events themselves are scrutinized more closely.
Oddities and Inconstancies
Both the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI have written summaries on the events of October 1, 2017 and the case is closed. Many oddities and inconsistences remain unsolved however and still beg the question: was all this carnage simply the result of one introverted man who wanted to finally make his mark on the world? Let’s see what’s still out there.
- Many witnesses claim to have heard multiple shooters and video evidence exists that supports this claim however, the FBI and LVPD concluded that Stephen Paddock acted alone. Why does none of this evidence even appear in their final reports?
- Why would Paddock be continuing to accrue rewards with the Mandalay Bay during his stay in the days leading up to the shooting if he knew his death was imminent?
- Mandalay Bay security guard, Jesus Campos involvement is incredibly bizarre. Check out The Free Thought Project for all the strange elements of this case.
- Surely hours of footage exists of Paddock during his stay at the Mandalay Bay but only a few minutes worth has surfaced.
- Paddock brought in more than 10 suitcases of guns and ammo yet no hotel staff noticed anything suspicious.
- Emails from Stephen Paddock discussing an arms deal with an unknown recipient have surfaced. What was the full extent of Paddock’s arm dealing?
- Who broke into Paddock’s home in Reno a week after the shooting and why?
- The FBI report claims Paddock wanted to “die by suicide” but this is soley based on conjecture. Marylou and Paddock’s doctor do report some symptoms of depression but nothing resembling suicidal tendencies.
- A laptop with a missing hard drive was found in his suite while a separate hard drive was found at this home. The police state the hard drive was never recovered but never clarified about whether the hard drive found at the home was the one missing from the suite.
- Why did police say that Paddock checked into his room on September 28th when room service receipts show him having being there since the 25th? Why do receipts show food and drink for two people?
Three Years Later
Now, years later one can still look back at the life of Stephen Paddock and the events of October 1, 2017 and be filled with doubt as to what really happened. How is it that a story so traumatic, and with so many reverberations, still have so many unanswered questions? Politicians cynically used the pain and suffering for photo opportunities or to promote political agendas, the FBI closed the case, and now the expectation is that this whole ordeal will just fade from memory.
The world may have to wait years for answers if they come at all but these questions, and many more, remain unresolved. They may have perfectly reasonable explanations but whatever the outcome the narrative and truth will inevitably change with them. Most importantly this change would bring justice that the victims and survivors deserve.