LAS VEGAS – The girlfriend of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock says she saw no signs he was planning “something horrible,” and that she is “devastated” by the deaths and injuries he caused when he rained bullets down on an outdoor music concert.
Marilou Danley, Paddock’s girlfriend, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon through her attorney, Matt Lombard.
Danley said Paddock “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.”
“It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone,” she said in the statement.
Lombard said Danley is fully cooperating with the investigation into why Paddock, a 64-year-old retired accountant, fired for 9 to 11 minutes from his 32nd-floor hotel window into a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers in the heart of Las Vegas. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 were injured before Paddock took his own life as police closed in.
“I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man,” Danley said in the statement. “I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him.”
A plane ticket and money
Danley said that, more than two weeks ago, Paddock told her he had bought a plane ticket for her to fly to her native Philippines, saying he wanted her to visit her family.
While she was in the Philippines, Danley said, Paddock wired her money that he said was for her to buy a house for her and her family.
Danley said she was grateful but “worried” that the unexpected trip home and the money “was a way of breaking up with me.”
Paddock had recently wired $100,000 to the Philippines, a US law enforcement source confirmed to CNN this week.
Danley said she had voluntarily flown back to the United States after Sunday’s massacre because she knew investigators wanted to talk to her. She arrived late Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport from the Philippines, and spoke Wednesday in Los Angeles with the FBI and Las Vegas police, Lombard said.
Danley’s sisters told CNN affiliate Seven Network Australia that Paddock encouraged her to leave the United States last month.
“She was sent away. She was sent away so that she will be not there to interfere with what he’s planning,” one of Danley’s sisters told Seven News from their home in Australia’s Gold Coast region.
“In that sense, I thank him for sparing my sister’s life,” she said, adding that Danley was “really in love with Steve.”
The two sisters, who spoke to Seven News exclusively, did not want to be identified by name and requested their faces be blurred.
One sister told Seven News said that Danley didn’t know anything ahead of the shooting.
“She didn’t even know that she was going to the Philippines, until Steve said, ‘Marilou, I found you a cheap ticket to the Philippines.’ ”
The sister added Danley was likely “even (more) shocked than us” by his actions. Still, the sister left open the possibility that Danley could provide information helpful to investigators.
“Of all the people that they have interviewed, … no one can put the puzzles together — no one — except Marilou, because Steve is not here to talk anymore. Only Marilou can maybe help,” she said.
“If Marilou was there, this, maybe, as well, didn’t happen because she won’t let it happen.”
Danley working with authorities, sister says
After Sunday attack, authorities in the United States, the Philippines and Australia joined efforts to search for Danley, hoping she might shed some light on the motive behind the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
The search for her initially spanned several countries, with conflicting reports that she may have been in Japan or the Philippines at the time of the shooting.
Danley, 62, who travels on an Australian passport, arrived in the Philippines from Tokyo on September 15, then left for Hong Kong on September 22 and flew back to the Philippines on September 25, said Maria Antoinette Mangrobang, a spokeswoman for the Philippine Bureau of Immigration.
Authorities in the Philippines had communicated with the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security regarding her travel, the spokeswoman said.
In the Seven News interview, one sister said Danley would willingly answer investigators’ questions.
“She’s a good person, a gentle soul, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a friend,” the sister said, adding that Danley was having trouble coping with the tragedy because “she’s a very weak person.”
Paddock was ‘quiet, not sociable’
Danley lived with Paddock in Mesquite, Nevada, northeast of Las Vegas. It’s unclear when the couple met.
Danley’s sisters said they had met Paddock two or three times.
“(He was) very quiet, not sociable. He keep to himself. One question, you get your answer directly. That’s it,” one sister said.
“It’s a pity, though, because he’s the only one really who can answer this,” she said. “But he cheated. He cheated. He escaped and (left) us here putting (pieces of) the puzzles together.”