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August 14, 2018

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Report: Strip shooter Paddock was ‘germaphobic’ and had strong reactions to smells

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Yasmina Chavez

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo conducts a briefing on the Oct. 1 Strip mass shooting at Metro Police headquarters Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.

Stephen Paddock rented a room at Mandalay Bay in the month before carrying out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history from the Las Vegas Strip resort. He behaved “strangely” during his September stay, looking out the hotel windows toward the concert venue he eventually would target with gunfire, his girlfriend told investigators.

Details of his early September stay were part of a report released Friday by Metro Police and unveiled by Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

Paddock’s “demeanor” changed in the year before the massacre, the report indicated. He became “distant” and had amassed 55 legal firearms, most of which were rifles, including most of the weapons used in the massacre, according to the report.

His girlfriend, Marilou Danley, told investigators she “believed it was a hobby of his,” police said.

But in the previous 30 years, Paddock had only purchased 29 firearms, only one being a rifle, police said. From October 2016 to September 2017, Paddock had also purchased more than 100 “firearm-related items,” including scopes, cases, bump stocks and ammunition.

Danley further described the 64-year-old as being “germaphobic” and had “strong reactions to smells,” police said. Investigators learned that Paddock would constantly make claims to friends and family saying that he felt ill.

But the only apparent physical problem was a muscle tear that he suffered three years prior after a fall at a Las Vegas casino, for which he sued the property.

Paddock’s personal physician told investigators that his patient, who he’d treated since 2009, was “odd” and showed “little emotion,” leading the doctor to believe that he was bipolar, police said. But Paddock “seemed fearful” of medication and often refused to take anything.

Paddock was an avid high-stakes gambler who wagered up to tens of thousands a dollars per session, police said. Lombardo said Paddock had lost a “significant amount of wealth” in the months leading up to the shooting and may have been suffering bouts with depression.

Investigators have spoken to at least 43 people “directly” associated with Paddock, to include 24 gambling associates and eight family members, police said.

He had refused anti-depression medication but had been prescribed anti-anxiety medicine. The doctor told investigators he didn’t think Paddock abused medications, police said.

According to his travel history, beginning in 2012, Paddock took multiple international trips — mostly alone — to countries in Europe, Asia and South America. He took cruises to Mexico, Bahamas and Alaska, police said.

Through interviews, it was learned that Paddock appeared to have “lived a seemingly normal life” with no interactions with police, besides traffic citations, investigators said.

Before smashing two large windows of his 32nd floor suite and indiscriminately rained death, Paddock had apparently covered his motive, not leaving a suicide note, not leaving a manifesto, police said.

Danley is not expected to face charges, but another person of interest has arisen, Lombardo said Friday, noting that he could not expound on the person’s identity or what that person’s involvement to the shooting might be.