New Zealand authorities on Thursday reportedly seized a fake gun from an unnamed former girlfriend of Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock.
Paddock opened fire on a crowd at a country music festival in Las Vegas in 2017, killing at least 58 people and injuring hundreds of others. During the attack, police stormed Paddock’s Las Vegas hotel room, which prompted Paddock to turn the gun on himself.
During the horrific attack, Paddock — an avid gambler who often frequented the Las Vegas area — fired more than 1,000 rounds on concertgoers from his hotel room window.
What are the details?
The unnamed woman, who apparently lives in New Zealand, reportedly waved around a replica of a gun at a reporter outside of a shopping mall. The woman and her son recently moved from the United States to the Auckland area.
The New Zealand Herald reported that police visited the woman at her home and confiscated the fake gun during the visit.
She reportedly told officials that she kept the replica weapon for protection and told the outlet that she didn’t want anyone to know that she’d left the United States.
“I have been living here a while, but I didn’t want anyone to know,” she told the paper in a statement. “The investigation is still ongoing in the States. I still live with a lot of guilt knowing I could have potentially prevented [the attack], so as a result, I have a lot of people who want me dead for failing to do something.”
In a statement, local law enforcement told the Herald, “Inquiries were made this evening and a replica pistol was located and it has been surrendered to police for destruction. A female has been warned for unlawfully carrying an imitation firearm.”
“Anyone who has a firearms license that is endorsed to allow ownership of a pistol must comply with strict regulations around carriage of the pistol,” the statement added.
What does she know about the mass killing?
According to the Herald, the unnamed woman was in contact via telephone with Paddock while he was in Las Vegas ahead of the fateful attack.
She told the outlet that she met him in a Miami, Florida, bar in 2013 where the two bonded over their mutual love of guns.
It remains unknown as to why Paddock — who left behind at least 23 weapons in his hotel room — carried out the attack on the country music festival.
In 2018, the Las Vegas Police Department closed the investigation into the matter, noting that it could not determine a motive in the mass killing. The report concluded that Paddock, however, did work alone in the planning and executing of the attack. It also noted that Paddock lost more than $1 million gambling in the year leading up to the massacre.
In 2019, the FBI also wrapped up its investigation into the mass killing. A statement on the report, which was compiled by the Las Vegas Review Panel, read:
The LVRP found no evidence that Paddock’s attack was motivated by any ideological or political beliefs. The LVRP concludes that Paddock’s attack was neither directed, inspired, nor enabled by ideologically-motivated persons or groups. Paddock was not seeking to further any religious, social, or political agenda through his actions. The LVRP further assesses that Paddock conspired with no one; he acted alone.