Sheriff Joseph Lombardo gave a lengthy on-camera interview to CBS8 in Las Vegas Wednesday during which he suggested two years of gambling losses may have contributed to Stephen Paddock’s decision to commit mass murder.
“Over time he’s gone up and down in his wealth associated with gambling and real estate and everything else that he chose to do but, you know, since 2015, September of 2015 he’s lost a significant amount of wealth,” Lombardo said. He added, “And I think that might have a determining factor on his—what he determined to do.”
Lombardo said he was impressed with the work of FBI profilers who said Paddock had a “narcissistic personality. “This individual was status driven based on how he liked to be recognized in the casino environment and how he liked to be recognized by his friends and family,” Lombardo said. “So obviously that was starting to decline in the short period of time and that may have a determining effect on why he decided to do what he did,” he added.
So Lombardo says twice that declining fortunes may have motivated the Vegas attack. However, when asked what triggered Paddock to start buying up guns in October 2016, Lombardo seemed much less certain. “We don’t know if he had a mental defect that caused him to all of a sudden change the way he was going to conduct himself,” Lombardo said.
“There was something that popped his trigger or caused him to go that direction and we have yet to determine what that is,” Lombardo said. He added, “We haven’t had that one salient point, that trigger point that made him snap.
“But we’re saying what made him snap. Obviously, he took a long time to think this out and process, obtain the weaponry, the logistics, and thought out the plan and everything else associated with it so it may be a longer-term issue that made him snap, per se. But we may not find out.”
As for changes in the timeline of events, Lombardo says he warned in advance that the timeline might change. But he says ultimately he believes the quick response of authorities helped save lives. “I believe the suspect believed the wolf was at the door and took his own life because our response, and his awareness of our response, caused him to take his life.”
The interview is available in two parts here.