The girlfriend of Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas gunman who killed 59 people in one of the deadliest mass shootings in history, has said that she had no prior knowledge of the attack, the media reported. In her first public statement since the Las Vegas massacre took place on Sunday night, Marilou Danley, 62, on Wednesday said Paddock, a retired 64-year-old accountant, had sent her on a trip to the Philippines and wired her money there, but that she did not know he was planning to harm anyone, reports The New York Times.
Danley’s statement came after she went to the Los Angeles offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for questioning, according to a law enforcement official. She stressed that she returned to the US voluntarily, “because I know that the FBI and the Las Vegas police department wanted to talk to me, and I wanted to talk to them”. “I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man. I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him. “It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone.”
Danley said she was grateful to Paddock for the trip to the Philippines, her native country, to visit family, but when he wired her money, “which he said was for me to buy a house for me and my family”, she feared that it was his “way of breaking up with me”, The New York Times reported. She boarded a flight from Manila to Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to Antonette Mangrobang, a spokeswoman for the Philippine Immigration Bureau.
The authorities, who met Danley at the Los Angeles airport, had called her a “person of interest” in the investigation into why Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip into an outdoor music festival with over 22,000 concert-goers. Besides the casualties, a total of 489 people were injured in the attack, and 317 have been released from hospitals. Investigators are yet to discover Paddock’s motive for the shooting.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on Wednesday paid tribute to the professionalism of the doctors who treated the Las Vegas shooting victims, saying that meeting with the patients at one hospital made him “proud to be an American”. In brief remarks to the media before meeting with law enforcement officials in Las Vegas, Trump said: “I think the only message I can say is that we are with you 100 per cent.”
Investigators at the hotel from which Paddock launched his assault found no fewer than 23 guns, including a Kalashnikov and AR-15 assault rifles, and a vast stockpile of military grade .223 calibre ammunition. In total, across three locations, 47 firearms were recovered. Pictures emerged from the hotel room showing Paddock lying dead, surrounded by weapons and spent ammunition. Police said they believed he had used 10 suitcases to smuggle the weapons up to the room.