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The Las Vegas Shooter May Have Discussed Attacking A Concert Venue Months Before The Massacre

A hairstylist told police that someone named "Paddock" had mentioned shooting up a concert venue months earlier.

Last updated on May 23, 2018, at 11:17 p.m. ET

Posted on May 23, 2018, at 8:11 p.m. ET

Ronda Churchill / AP

Months before Stephen Paddock gunned down 58 people on the Las Vegas Strip last year, a man fitting his description allegedly visited a hairstylist and discussed shooting up an outdoor concert arena from a casino — exactly the scenario that played out during the actual rampage.

On Oct. 1, Paddock opened fire from his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, gunning down concertgoers attending a music festival across the Strip before killing himself.

Nine days after the attack, the hairstylist told investigators that in June or July of 2017, a client with Paddock's last name came in for a haircut, according to documents released Wednesday by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and reviewed by BuzzFeed News. While the man was in the shop, he mentioned an outdoor Las Vegas venue and said he "couldn't believe that they made it an outdoor arena because anybody could shoot into the crowd from the casino across the way," the hairstylist told investigators.

John Locher / AP

"I felt very, very uneasy," the stylist added.

About the time the haircut was ending, the stylist told police, a woman arrived, who she now believes was Paddock's girlfriend Marilou Danley.

"I asked her, 'Do you know what he’s been saying to me?'" the stylist told police. "She’s like, 'Oh, what, about somebody shooting into a crowd and, you know, wanting to hurt a lot of people?'"

Stephen Paddock (right) with his brother Eric Paddock in a family photo.
John Raoux / AP

Stephen Paddock (right) with his brother Eric Paddock in a family photo.

As the man paid his bill he referred to the woman and added, "I wonder what she's worried about? She'll be out of the country."

At the time of the actual shooting, in October, Danley was in the Philippines.

The hairstylist claimed to have reported the conversation with the man to police. Las Vegas police did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' questions about the stylist's statements and the possible police report. According to the transcript of the interview, investigators repeatedly asked the stylist who in the police department fielded the alleged call, but the stylist could not remember details and eventually expressed some doubt that police were in fact notified.

The account could not be verified because all identifying details were redacted from the documents released by the LVMPD Wednesday.

If the account is accurate, however — and if the man who visited the stylist was indeed the shooter — it appears to be the clearest indication so far that Paddock was thinking about and potentially planning his attack long before the actual shooting.

More than seven months after the massacre, Paddock's motives remain unclear. Documents released by the Las Vegas police last week included an interview with a man who claimed to have heard the shooter go on an anti-government rant in the weeks before the massacre, although that account could also not be independently confirmed.

Police camera footage released earlier this month showed his Mandalay Bay hotel room strewn with numerous assault rifles in the aftermath of the shooting.

A photo released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows assault rifles in Paddock's hotel room.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department / AP

A photo released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows assault rifles in Paddock's hotel room.

The documents released Wednesday also appear to include a statement from Jason Aldean, the country music star who was performing at the Route 91 Harvest festival when the shooting began. Though Aldean's name is redacted from the document, the person making the statement recalls being on stage singing when he "heard fireworks."

"I turned to look at my monitor guy and saw my personal security guard running toward me and telling me to evacuate the stage," he said. "At that point we layed [sic] on the stage and hid until we could get on my bus."

Police also released an interview with a bellhop at Mandalay Bay, who told police that he helped Paddock bring luggage up to his room. According to the bellhop, Paddock asked to use a service elevator at the hotel, though the luggage itself was "normal."

The bellhop described Paddock as "low key" and "mellow" during their interactions.

On the night of the attack, police also reportedly thought that there were multiple shooters and that a coordinated terrorist attack could be underway, according to other documents released Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. An officer working at the concert wrote that law enforcement was "operating under the belief that we were under a Mumbai-style terror attack and could be set upon by active shooters at any moment."

Another officer believed that "this event may encompass multiple attackers or secondary terrorist attacks," according to the AP.



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