The girlfriend of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock made her first public comments about the tragedy on Wednesday evening, saying she had no inkling that he was planning Sunday’s attack on the Route 91 Harvest music festival, which left 58 people dead and hundreds wounded.
“I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man,” Marilou Danley said in a statement read by her attorney. “He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen.”
Danley, 62, has been in her home country of the Philippines for the last two weeks, and returned to the U.S. on Tuesday night after authorities called her a person of interest in their investigation. She said she went home to visit her family at Paddock’s suggestion, and when he wired her money — reportedly $100,000 — she thought the trip and the gift might be his way of breaking up with her.
In an interview with Australia’s Channel 7, Danley’s sister, who was not named, suggested that Paddock sent his girlfriend away to keep her from undermining his plans.
“I know she doesn’t know anything as well like us,” said the sister. “She was sent away. She was away so that she would not be there to interfere with what he’s planning.”
Eric Paddock, the shooter’s brother, suggested Paddock was trying to protect Danley. “He manipulated her to be as far away from here and safe when he committed this,” Eric Paddock said. “The people he loved he took care of, and as he was descending into hell he took care of her.”
But others suggested there was a darker side to their relationship. Esperanza Mendoza, the supervisor of a Starbucks in Reno, Nevada, that the couple frequented, told the L.A. Times that employees often saw him berate her.
“He would glare down at her and say — with a mean attitude — ‘You don’t need my casino card for this. I’m paying for your drink, just like I’m paying for you.’ Then she would softly say, ‘okay’ and step back behind him. He was so rude to her in front of us,” Mendoza recalled.
Danley, who is not in federal custody, said she intends to cooperate fully with investigators. “Anything I can do to help ease suffering and help in any way, I will do,” she said.
Here is Danley’s statement in full:
I am devastated by the deaths and injuries that have occurred, and my prayers go out to the victims and their families, and all those who have been hurt by these awful events. I have faith in God, and I will continue to pray for everyone who has been harmed or hurt. I am a mother and a grandmother, and my heart breaks for all who have lost loved ones.
I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man. I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him. He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of, that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen.
A little more than two weeks ago, Stephen told me he found a cheap ticket for me to the Philippines and that he wanted me to take a trip home to see my family. Like all Filipinos abroad, I was excited to go home and see family and friends. While there, he wired me money, which he said was for me to buy a house for me and my family. I was grateful, but honestly, I was worried that first, the unexpected trip home, and then the money, was a way of breaking up with me. It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone.
I have not made a statement until now because I have been cooperating with the authorities, and I voluntarily flew back to America, because I know that the F.B.I. and Las Vegas police department wanted to talk to me, and I wanted to talk to them. I will cooperate fully with their investigation. Anything I can do to help ease suffering and help in any way, I will do. Please respect my privacy and my family’s privacy.