Mass shootings' expert speaks to Action News

Thursday, October 05, 2017 04:15AM
Mass shootings' expert speaks to Action News. Christie Ileto reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on October 4, 2017.

PRINCETON, N.J. - Millions of Americans are trying to understand the mindset of a person who could plot a massacre.

Wednesday night, Action News spoke with a local professor who said this "A-Typical" suspect wanted to kill as many people as possible.

There is no immediate thumbprint to point investigators to why Stephen Paddock unleashed a fury of bullets into a crowded outdoor concert.

Rowan University professor Joel Capellan, an expert on mass public shootings and lone wolf terrorism, said two things are pivotal.

"Based on my research, it's how experienced the individual is regarding weapons, and how much planning is done prior to the shooting," he said.

It's not clear if the 64-year-old gunman had extensive knowledge about the firearms he used in the mass murder, but according to the Feds, he had purchased almost three dozen guns in the eleven months.

"And he was very well prepared. There was surveillance, there was research, premeditation, and super high levels of preparation just on the sheer number of weapons obtained," Capellan said.

Action News asked Capellan what that says about the mass shooter, his intention, and all the planning he did.

Capellan answered, "It suggests that his aim was to kill as many people as possible."

Stephen Paddock was twice divorced, and a retired accountant and real estate investor.

He had no criminal background, and was in a relationship with Marilou Danley, who attests - there were no warning signs and she had no idea her boyfriend would orchestrate a bloodbath.

"She is our only hope to learn about his mental state prior to the shooting," Capellan said.

Danley's testimony could shed light on Paddock's finances, gun purchases, and interest in high stake-gambling, and hopefully connecting the missing links to a motive that remains a mystery.

Danley did return from the Philippines voluntarily to cooperate with the investigation.

Police are also looking at the suspect's electronic devices for clues.

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