The Wall Street Journal: Las Vegas gunman had railed against government, police say

People who came into contact with Stephen Paddock in the weeks before he killed 58 people at a Las Vegas concert last October said he railed against the government, behaved oddly and expressed a willingness to die, according to documents released by the Las Vegas police this week.

One woman interviewed by police said she sat in the booth of a diner eating dinner a few days before the shooting and overheard a man in the next booth she subsequently recognized as Paddock. The woman said Paddock was discussing with another man deadly standoffs between federal agents and antigovernment activists at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and Waco, Texas, in 1993.

An inmate at the local Clark County Detention Center told investigators that three weeks before the shooting Paddock answered his online ad for the design to a device that converts semi-automatic AR-15s to automatic. When they met in a store parking lot, the man said Paddock said he would “give me $500 apiece” to make an unspecified number of the converters. After the man said he didn’t want to go to prison for that, he said Paddock went on an antigovernment rant. “He kept carrying on about just antigovernment stuff,” said the man, who was booked into the jail shortly after the massacre on an unrelated charge. “He asked me if I remembered (Hurricane) Katrina and said, ‘That was just a dry run for law enforcement and military to start kickin’ down doors and confiscating guns,’” the man said.

Law-enforcement officials says they are still unclear why the 64 year-old Paddock, a high-rolling, eccentric gambler and gun enthusiast, opened fire on the country-music concert in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. But the 1,200 pages of documents, which consist of witness statements, shed some more light on his state of mind leading up to the shooting.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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