The man who shot and killed 59 people at a Las Vegas concert Sunday night spent time in Tucson as a young boy in the late 1950s and early 1960s, his brother said Monday.
The family of Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, lived in Tucson for several years before moving to Southern California, said brother Patrick B. Paddock II, who lives in Tucson.
Patrick Paddock, who spoke to the Star briefly from outside his apartment, said there were four siblings in his family, including three who were born here and Stephen, the oldest, who was born in Iowa.
Their father was a convicted bank robber who escaped from federal prison in 1971 and was on the FBI’s most-wanted list.
Patrick Paddock said as far as he knew, his older brother never returned to Tucson.
He said news of his brother’s involvement in the deadliest mass shooting in United States’ history, which he first heard about from a co-worker around 8 a.m. Monday, left him shocked and wondering why his brother could commit such an act.
He said he hadn’t talked to his brother in many years and “barely recognized” the photograph of his brother shown by the news media.
Authorities said Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel-casino on a crowd of over 22,000 at an outdoor country music festival, turning the expanse into a killing field from which there was little escape. At least 59 people died. At least 515 people were injured.
The motive for the attack remained a mystery, with Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo saying: “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point.”
The Associated Press reported Paddock was a multimillionaire real estate investor who like to play high-stakes poker in Las Vegas.
While living in Tucson, the Paddock brothers’ father, Patrick Benjamin Paddock, was sentenced in 1961 to 20 years in prison for a Phoenix bank robbery, one of three robberies he was accused of committing, according to news clips from the Tucson Daily Citizen archives.
He was arrested in Las Vegas two days after the robbery. At the time, Stephen was 7 years old and the oldest of the four children. His then-Tucson neighbor Eva Price took the boy swimming while FBI agents searched the family home.
She told the Tucson Citizen at the time: “We’re trying to keep Steve from knowing his father is held as a bank robber. I hardly know the family, but Steve is a nice boy. It’s a terrible thing.”
Paddock’s father went by the nicknames “Big Daddy,” “Chromedome” and “Old Baldy.” His father was described decades ago by the FBI as a “glib, smooth-talking” con man who enjoyed gambling, umpiring prison sports games and playing bridge.
Before the robberies, he served prison time in Illinois for stealing a car, engaging in a confidence game and conspiring to pass bad checks. He was in prison for the first three years of his oldest son’s life.
In 1971, the elder Paddock was placed on the FBI’s list of 10 Most Wanted after he escaped from a federal prison in Texas where he was serving his sentence for the Phoenix bank robbery, according to Citizen archives.
Patrick Paddock said Monday his mother did not tell him about his father’s criminal history until his early 20s.
News clips said the elder Paddock sold garbage disposals in Tucson and at one point owned a nightclub on North First Avenue. The elder Paddock’s address was listed on a street near Greasewood Park.
The AP reported the elder Paddock operated an Oregon bingo parlor after escaping from prison.
An Oregon Supreme Court opinion from 1981 says FBI agents arrested Patrick Benjamin Paddock on Sept. 6, 1978, at the Bingo Center in the small city of Springfield.
Despite the escape, Paddock was paroled the following year and returned to Oregon. He continued the bingo operation until authorities shut it down in 1987 and charged him with racketeering.
Don Bishoff, a columnist for The Register-Guard of Eugene, wrote in 1998 that Paddock pleaded no contest to the charges, but he received no jail time. He wrote that Paddock spent the last decade of his life in Texas.
The columnist described Paddock, now deceased, as one of the Eugene-Springfield area’s “most colorful rogues.”
News reports said Paddock used various pseudonyms, such as Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, Bruce Ericksen, Perry Archer and Benjamin J. Butler, among others.