Late Sunday night in Las Vegas, authorities say 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, perched in the window of a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, opened fire with an automatic weapon, raining bullets down on the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event where more than 20,000 people were enjoying a concert. The shooting rampage went on for as long as 10 minutes, police said, and left at least 58 dead and more than 500 wounded, making it the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Police found Paddock dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after bursting into his hotel room, where he had a deadly stash of weapons and ammunition. In the immediate aftermath of the massacre, investigators began hunting for Marilou Danley, a 62-year-old woman who was described as his girlfriend and roommate, and was declared a person of interest.
Authorities say they located Danley outside of the country, interviewed her and, according to the BBC, she is “no longer being sought out as a person of interest.” Authorities said she was not with Paddock when he checked into the Mandalay Bay Resort, but that Paddock had used her ID to check into the hotel. Little is known about Danley, but some details on her have emerged. “Marilou Danley is no longer being sought out as a person of interest,” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said, according to WSB-TV. “LVMPD detectives have made contact with her and do not believe she is involved with the shooting on the strip.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Danley described herself as a “gambling and casino professional” living in Reno, Nevada, on her LinkedIn page, which has since been deactivated. On her Facebook page, which has also been taken down, The Daily Mail reported that she described herself as “a proud mom and grandma who lives life to the fullest.” According to ABC News, the two lived together in Mesquite, Nevada, about an hour outside of Las Vegas. The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia reported that Danley is an Australian citizen who still has relatives, including a sister, there. She’s lived in Nevada since 2003, The Reno Gazette-Journal reported, and was married for 25 years before divorcing in 2015.
An acquaintance reached by The Reno Gazette-Journal, a man who declined to be identified, said, “She had nothing to do with this psycho [Paddock]. The poor lady, she is in the Philippines visiting family.” Susan Page, a neighbor who lived nearby Danley and Paddock described the two as “closet people” who “kept to themselves.” Page added, “I never saw them.”
CBS News spoke with Eric Paddock, the brother of the gunman, who said he was “dumbfounded” by why his brother would commit such a violent act. He also provided some insight into the relationship between Stephen Paddock and Danley, whom he seemed to confirm was Paddock’s girlfriend. He said Danley had no history of mental illness that he was aware of and, referring to her 4-foot, 11-inch height, described her as “just a nice, short person.” He said the two have been together for a “couple years” and that he thinks she works at one of the Vegas hotels. Speaking about his brother, Eric Paddock said Stephen had no religious or political affiliation. Eric, who lives in Florida, said he was “not that close” with his brother, but that his brother’s carrying out of the shooting rampage “makes no sense.” Watch the interview below.
Later on Monday morning, ISIS issued a statement taking responsibility for the attack and declaring that Stephen Paddock was one of its “soldiers.” Though the extremist group cited no evidence to support the claim, it said that Stephen Paddock had converted to Islam in recent months, The Associated Press reported. Shortly after the claim was made, the FBI told the AP that Stephen Paddock had no connection to an international terror group. For more on the investigation, watch the video below.