A man who met Stephen Paddock less than a month before the Las Vegas massacre said the mass shooter ranted about a government plot to confiscate guns and called for the American public to wake up and arm themselves, according to newly released witness statements.
The man, whose name has been redacted, gave a jailhouse interview in November saying he met up with Paddock outside a sporting goods store after posting an online ad to sell schematics to convert semi-automatic guns to fire automatically.
“Somebody has to wake up the American public and get them to arm themselves,” the man said Paddock told him less than a month before the Oct. 1 shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds. “Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.”
Paddock also ranted about “camps” the Federal Emergency Management Agency set up after Hurricane Katrina, which he claimed were a “dry run for law enforcement and military to start kickin’ down doors and … confiscating guns.”
In a handwritten account, a woman said she overheard a man she believes to be Paddock talking with another man at a Las Vegas restaurant just three days before the massacre. She told police that Paddock seemed angry about the 1990s standoffs at Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge in Idaho.
“At the time, I just thought ‘strange guys’ and I wanted to leave,” said the woman.
A housekeeper at the Mandalay Bay also described her discomfort when she cleaned Paddock's hotel room just four days before the shooting.
Paddock, she says, ordered room service and kept staring at her while she emptied the refrigerator and changed the bed sheets at his request.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released 1,200 pages of police reports and witness statements on Wednesday after losing court battles to keep them secret.
Law enforcement refused to provide any additional information and declined to say whether the reports were credible.
More than seven months later, authorities have not yet determined a motive in the ongoing investigation, although they believe Paddock acted alone and did not have ties to international terrorist groups.
With News Wire Services