The ex-convict’s letters to the shooter predicted a massacre in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Letters to the shooter who sparked the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in Las Vegas in October 2017, apparently written by an ex-convict living in Texas, according to documents predicted Friday were received .
“My friend, it sounds like you are about to kill or murder someone or some people,” read a handwritten letter Stephen Paddock dated June 1, 2017 and signed Jim Nixon. When asked “Dear Steve,” it said, “Please don’t go into any shootings like an idiot.”
“I am concerned about the way you are speaking and I believe that you are about to do something very bad,” read another letter dated May 27, 2017, among 10 unredacted documents released by the Las Vegas Police Department released. Letters from 2013 and 2014 described the men doing business together.
“Please do not go out and shoot or injure people who have not harmed you,” the May 27 letter pleaded. “Steve please please don’t do what I think you will do.”
Police received the letters almost two months after Paddock rained gunfire from windows of a high-rise casino hotel into an outdoor concert crowd, killing 58 and injuring more than 850. Paddock killed himself before police could get to him. Two other people later died from their wounds.
The letters were found by new owners of a vacant office building in Mesquite, Texas, who mailed the letters to the Las Vegas Police Department. Police said the letters were forwarded to the FBI and agents were investigating.
A reference to the letters was among hundreds of pages of documents released by the FBI last week in response to a request from the Wall Street Journal. There was no description of their credibility, but an FBI record said Paddock had sold property he owned in Mesquite around 2012.
“Paddock used the money from that sale to purchase dozens of guns that were ultimately used in the shooting,” according to a typewritten FBI report with blocked sections stating records other than “negative for contact” between the Author and paddock have been characterized.
“We moved into an office and found … a folder full of what appeared to be copies of letters,” read a brief cover letter dated November 30, 2017, with redacted sender and recipient information. “We wish you every success in your investigations.”
In a statement Friday, the Las Vegas bureau declined to comment, citing findings by the Las Vegas Police Department and the FBI that gave no motive for Paddock’s attack.
said the police In August 2018, the 64-year-old Paddock gambled away more than $1.5 million playing high-stakes video poker, amassed a cache of weapons, and became increasingly unstable — including distancing himself from his girlfriend and family. Paddock acted alone, investigators say, and meticulously planned the attack.
He also appears to have spotted large congregations in at least four cities potential targetsinvestigators said at the time, and booked rooms with a view of a Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago in August 2017 and a Life is Beautiful show in Las Vegas a few weeks before going ahead with his plan.
“It was just about doing the most damage possible and giving him some form of shame,” said the FBI agent in charge of Las Vegas at the time in January 2019.
“The FBI does not comment on individual interviews conducted during an investigation, and we do not comment on documents (on freedom of information),” the FBI said Friday. “There is no new information that the FBI was not aware of or that the FBI has not shared with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in this case. We stand by the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit summary report.”
Las Vegas police declined to comment, and AP’s efforts to contact Jim Nixon Friday were unsuccessful.
The Review-Journal identified Nixon as a disabled Vietnam War veteran and ex-convict who served time in prison for tax fraud and is now 75 years old. He told the newspaper he never contacted the authorities about his concerns about Paddock.
“He did what he did and I feel bad that I couldn’t have stopped him,” Nixon said. “I didn’t know he would do what he did.”
Associated Press writers Rio Yamat in Las Vegas and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.