Las Vegas shooter is atypical suspect, local criminologist says


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Law enforcement is still working to unravel the motive of the man who murdered dozens of people in a shooting rampage at a concert in Las Vegas Sunday. The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit on CBS’ “Criminal Minds” builds profiles to track down serial killers. Criminologist Amanda M. Sharp Parker says you can also build a profile backwards to help figure out a criminal’s motive.

“This is a millionaire who enjoyed playing heavy hands of poker,” Parker said.

Parker is the Assistant Professor of Homeland Security at Campbell University.

“It’s a difficult situation,” Parker said. “He’s a non-usual suspect.”

Parker says one of the most unusual things is his age. Paddock was 64-years-old with no criminal background. She says the shooting reminds her of the 1966 University of Texas tower shooting.

“The perpetrator when they did his autopsy found a brain tumor,” Parker said. “A massive brain tumor that may have caused some of his behavior. So, I’m very interested in the fact that we don’t have any extremist connection, any political white supremacy, any of those types of things, to see if there is a medical reason behind this.”

Parker says in order to get inside the mind of Stephen Paddock you need to examine every detail.

“Well you talk to his family,” she said. “You talk to his girlfriend. Obviously the live-in girlfriend is the main thing we’re going to look at because she’s going to have been around him much more. We look at anything we can find in the house: writings, diaries, letters, highlights of news articles, anything like that and his search history online, his phone records. Who was he calling? Who was he texting?”

Parker says the fact that Paddock killed himself to avoid being arrested is unusual, considering what we know about him so far.

“You know it’s really interesting because for the most part when we see that ideology of, ‘I will sacrifice myself for the cause,’ it is with a terrorist ideology. Whether it’s religious, political, whatever, but with this until we can find out more about him, it’s really difficult to say,” Parker said. “There’s a disconnect that we haven’t found the connection for yet.”

Parker says Paddock’s position of shooting from above tells her the attack was not personal, but calculated. She believes the answers are in Paddock’s autopsy, with his girlfriend and on his computer.

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