A witness statement included in a batch of newly released police documents reveals that in the days before October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, Stephen Paddock warned of his attack.
An Uber driver said she picked up Paddock and a woman and that Paddock “commented on the Mandalay Bay Area for a terrorist attack” as he was being dropped off at the Mandalay Bay.
The witness statement is one of many previously unreported details that were released last week after a judge ordered them to be made public.
“I got a request to pick up Paddock at Terminal #1 pick-up area for Uber, not sure what day or time. I picked up a man and a woman with a big blue suitcase, old looking, and heavy, and he commented on the Mandalay Bay area for a terrorist attack and [was] dropped at the Mandalay Bay,” the Uber driver stated in her report filed with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “Maybe check Uber records.”
The name of the Uber driver is redacted on the report, but the driver is described as a 5’10 200-pound woman with red hair and blue eyes. The witness statement was documented on Oct. 4, 2017 by an LVMPD officer.
This detail, that Paddock had warned of the attack days prior, has mysteriously been kept secret from the public until now.
The witness originally wrote “they” in her statement, but then crossed out the word “they” and changed it to “he.” It remains clear in the statement that another woman was also in the car with Paddock and the Uber driver. It is unclear whether that woman was Paddock’s girlfriend Marilou Danley. DANGEROUS exclusively reported that other recently released documents revealed three women were in Paddock’s room when police entered his 32nd floor suite the night of the shooting.
On that night, police say Paddock, 64, opened fire from his 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino onto a crowd gathered at a country music festival, killing 58 people and injuring over 800 more. LVMPD and the FBI have still not provided a motive for the shooting, remaining adamant that Paddock was a lone wolf and that the Las Vegas shooting was not an act of terrorism.
Immediately following the attack, ISIS claimed responsibility, saying that Paddock was an ISIS soldier who converted to Islam six months prior. Without completing an investigation, one day after the shooting Aaron Rouse, the Special Agent in charge of the FBI in Las Vegas, said in a press conference, “We have determined, to this point, no connection to an international terrorist group.”
Adding more concern to the competence and honesty of Las Vegas shooting investigators, the witness statement was documented on Oct. 4. Dr. Larry Barton, an FBI academy threat management instructor, told NBC News during an interview on Oct. 2:
“I just got this ten minutes ago, and you’ll be the first people to know this. The good people of Uber just called me to tell me that they picked up this perpetrator and his girlfriend on September 9th, and September 20th, and guess where they took them? To the Mandalay Bay. This fell out of fortune, so I suggested to Uber, you need to call the FBI and give them that information.”
After Barton’s interview, word of Paddock being picked up in an Uber and dropped off at Mandalay Bay was quickly brushed aside and has not been mentioned by investigators or the media since.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Special Agent Rouse never mentioned the possible terror admission to the public during press conferences in the days and weeks following the massacre, but they told the public one day after the shooting, and two days before the witness statement was obtained, that the Las Vegas shooting was not an act of terrorism.
A source within the Las Vegas FBI told DANGEROUS that if the FBI was serious about the woman’s statement, standard protocol would have required them to polygraph the Uber driver.
The source added, “For a major investigation with a witness having specific information, it is standard operating procedure to ask her to take a polygraph. Never in my over 20 years in law enforcement have I seen investigators rule out terrorism within the first 24 hours of a major attack taking place. If true, this witness statement is very damning for the FBI.”
The FBI declined to comment. This week, Sheriff Lombardo issued a “comment ban” within the LVMPD to ensure that no LVMPD employees speak to anybody, particularly the media, about the contents of the newly released police documents. Lombardo is running for re-election as Sheriff in Clark County. The primary is on June 12.
Laura Loomer is a conservative investigative journalist and activist. She is the author of What Happens In Vegas, forthcoming from Dangerous Books. Follow her on Twitter @LauraLoomer