The Slatest

New Details About Stephen Paddock Emerge, But Clarify Nothing

Mourners attend a vigil in Las Vegas to mark one week since the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 8, 2017. 

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

New court documents obtained by CNN shed more light on how Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock lived and saw himself in the years before he committed the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.

The information comes from a 2013, 97-page court deposition, when Paddock sued the Cosmopolitan Hotel after he slipped and fell on a walkway in 2011. An arbitrator ultimately ruled in favor of the casino.

In the deposition, according to CNN, Paddock said he was prescribed Valium “for anxiousness” but that he had no other mental health problems and no history of addiction. He estimated that he had taken 45 or 50 pills in a year and a half and described the doctor who was prescribing him the valium as being “on retainer.” (His girlfriend, Marilou Danley, told investigators on Friday that he seemed to be mentally and physically deteriorating in recent months.)


Paddock said in the deposition that he split his time among California, Nevada, Texas, and Florida, and at one point he traveled “maybe upwards of three weeks out of a month.” He stayed in casino hotel rooms, which he said were almost always provided for free, and he said that he opened drinks at the hotel without drinking them because everything was comped. Paddock said he rarely drank alcohol while gambling because, “at the stakes I play, you want to have all your wits about you, or as much wit as I have.” He claimed that he gambled all night and slept all day, and that he never visited the pool because “I do not do sun.”

Paddock described himself as the “biggest video poker player in the world” at one point. He said that in 2006, he averaged 14 hours at the video poker machines a day. From CNN:


A lawyer asked how much he could end up betting on a given night.

“A million dollars,” Paddock replied.

“That’s a lot of money,” the lawyer said.

“No, it’s not,” Paddock said.

NBC News reported that Paddock won up to $5 million in 2015, but as Slate’s Ben Mathis-Lilley points out, it’s not clear whether the number means net or gross winnings. His brother has said real estate investment led to Paddock’s initial source of wealth. There was no evidence that Paddock was in financial trouble or in bad standing with the casinos at the time of his shooting.

These details from the deposition help form a picture of the shooter, but they still don’t offer any answers for why Paddock committed mass murder.