The girlfriend of Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock had her fingerprints on the ammunition he used in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history — something she had warned investigators about in advance when they started looking into the massacre, new documents reveal.
More than 300 pages of search warrants and affidavits unsealed in the case Friday shed new light on the meticulous planning Paddock put into the October 2017 slaughter, and raise new questions about the role his girlfriend Marilou Danley had in his life leading up to the rampage.
Authorities have said Paddock, 64, acted alone and that Danley, who was visiting family in The Philippines at the time of the shooting, had no involvement.
The documents reveal Danley told investigators they would likely find her fingerprints on Paddock’s ammo once they looked into it — which turned out to be true. She also said she sometimes helped with loading the magazines for some of his weapons. It was not clear from the documents why exactly Danley was handling the weapons or if she did anything else with them.
Danley had been identified early in the investigation as “the most likely person who aided or abetted Stephen Paddock based on her informing law enforcement that her fingerprints would likely be found on the ammunition used during the attack,” according to an affidavit. But there was no indication that she in fact helped Paddock’s plan in any way. She is not suspected of any crime and faces no charges.
The documents also reveal new and perplexing details about the preparations Paddock took for the shooting that would leave 58 people dead and more than 500 wounded. His motive has still not been determined.
The documents include an email exchange Paddock appeared to have with himself on two accounts associated with him: CentralPark4804@gmail.com and CenterPark1@live.com.
The first message said, “Try an ar before u buy. We have a huge selection. Located in the Las Vegas area,” apparently referring to AR 15 rifles.
A second message, sent from one account to the other on the same day, said, “we have a wide variety of optics and ammunition to try.”
A third message in the exchange said, “for a thrill try out bumpfire ar’s with 100 round magazine,” seemingly referencing bump stocks, the legal accessories Paddock used to make his high-powered rifles fire automatically at a crowd of 22,000 people at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival.
The records also show Paddock purchased most of his guns and ammo online in the 12 months leading up to the attack, and that he used anonymous communication tools and destroyed some of his digital footprints. Investigators found three cell phones in Paddock’s Mandalay Bay hotel suite. One was locked, and an FBI agent wrote that this phone was likely the one that would contain “any information related to a potential conspiracy.” Authorities previously revealed that they also found a laptop with no hard drive in the room.
The documents give no new clues about Paddock’s motives and no information suggesting he had assistance in the attack. Paddock shot and killed himself before officers reached his suite.
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