By Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times
Eric Paddock struggled to find the words to explain how it felt to learn his brother, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, was the gunman who opened fire on thousands in Las Vegas on Sunday night and killed more than 50.
Standing in front of reporters on the brick entryway of his Florida home, Eric Paddock told CNN he saw no signs of potential violence from his brother. The two exchanged messages just a few weeks ago.
“He texted me to see how my mom was after we didn’t have power for five days in the neighborhood,” said Paddock, who lives east of Orlando. “He talked to her on the phone a week or two ago, then sent her a walker because she’s having trouble walking.”
He said he thought his brother had a couple of handguns in a safe and possibly a rifle, but that was the extent of his weaponry.
When asked if his brother sounded like the kind of person who could be responsible for Sunday night’s massacre, Eric Paddock shrugged his shoulders with arms opened in apparent exasperation.
“He’s never even drawn a gun. It makes no sense. He’s never hit anybody,” Paddock said. “It just makes no sense. It’s like an asteroid. … He had no machine guns when I moved him to Mesquite. Find out who he bought the machine guns from.”
Paddock also said their father was once on the FBI’s most-wanted list. Records show Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, a bank robber who escaped from prison, was removed from the list in 1977 and arrested in 1978, according to the Orlando Sentinel. He died in 1998.
Paddock said their family was struggling to deal with the news of the attack.”We’re (messed) up,” he said, using an expletive. “I got a 90-year-old mother whose son just killed 50-plus people and now he’s dead.”
Sharon Judy, a neighbor of the suspect from Central Florida, where he lived before moving to Nevada, said she met Paddock when she moved into the neighborhood around the same time as he did.
She said he described himself as a world traveler and “professional gambler by trade” and said he once showed her a picture of himself winning a $20,000 slot-machine jackpot.
Judy said she was shocked when she heard the news on the radio and didn’t know the neighborhood connection to the shooting until reporters came knocking on her door.
“He was friendly all the time,” she said.