Las Vegas shooter wasn’t a standout college student, records show

Updated November 21, 2017 - 2:13 pm

The Las Vegas shooter may have possessed a keen mathematical understanding of gambling, but records show he did not stand out in college.

According to documents reviewed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Stephen Paddock had a cumulative grade-point average of 2.97, akin to a B average, after attending California State University, Northridge between 1971 and 1977.

After about six years at the university, his grades included 12 A’s, 18 B’s and 4 C’s. He posted A’s in classes ranging from quantitative analysis to principles of finance to a class in the Fortran programming language.

He made the dean’s list recognizing academic achievement in the 1974 fall semester and 1975 spring semester. But in spring 1974, the semester before he first made the list, he received an F in human geography. It was the second time he’d taken the class after receiving no credit in fall 1973.

Paddock also posted two D’s during his time at Northridge, one for a behavioral science management class in spring 1976 and the other in a math analysis class in fall 1972.

In Las Vegas, Paddock was a high-rolling video poker player. He had a winning record at some casinos, but a losing one at others, according to people familiar with his gaming records.

Medical leave

The documents also reflect Paddock’s sometimes poor health and troubled family history.

Paddock withdrew for undisclosed medical reasons during the fall semester of 1971. His brother, Eric Paddock, said the shooter had “allergies and stomach problems.”

On his application to Northridge in November 1970, the shooter wrote that his father had died nine years earlier. But Benjamin Paddock was alive — he had been arrested and sentenced to federal prison in La Tuna, Texas. The elder Paddock would escape from prison and make the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1969, two years before Paddock graduated from John H. Francis Polytechnic High School.

‘Normal’ before college

Joseph Klotchman said he knew Paddock at Francis Polytechnic High School and Richard E. Byrd Middle School, both in Sun Valley, California. As kids, they had an interest in astronomy.

“He was quiet, very kind of mild-mannered,” said Klotchman, now retired. “I did sense, though, that he was a little bit troubled. It seemed like under the surface there was something bothering him. But he was quiet, mild-mannered.”

Earl Sandroff played tennis with Paddock. He recalled Paddock as a normal high school student.

“He was a nice guy,” Sandroff said. “He never had any major outbursts.”

Part of small program

Looking at a photo of Paddock on a high school tennis team in 1970, Richard Levy thinks he recognizes Paddock as a former peer in his Northridge accounting classes.

Levy remembers Paddock as a tall, thin, quiet man who sat with Levy in the sparsely attended accounting classes of 1970s Northridge. Now 61 and a certified public accountant in the Los Angeles area, Levy finished his Northridge coursework in 1977, the same year as Paddock.

Enrollment in 1977 reached 28,000 students, with a full-time in-state student fee of $95 a semester, according to the university’s website. In fall 2013, the university had 33,000 students. For the fall 2017 semester, the cost of attendance for a full-time student living with relatives was $8,575.

Levy remembers Northridge as a boring commuter school with few amenities to keep students on campus after classes. The university’s Student Union building opened during his and Paddock’s last year at the university.

The accounting program was so small, the school would threaten to cancel some classes with rosters of around five students, he said.

“There was nothing exciting about someone who takes these classes,” Levy said. “It’s creepy that I knew him.”

‘Small world’

According to the shooter’s transcripts, Gerald Rossy taught Paddock’s final class at Northridge: analysis of business operations in the 1977 fall semester.

Rossy, now 72 and retired, doesn’t remember Paddock. He taught four of those classes in fall 1977, each with about 25 students.

He recalls how the students sat in desks forming a U-shape in the class. They’d discuss business cases and analyze company strategies.

Participation was 35 percent of the grade. For Paddock to post a grade of B, he had participated a moderate amount, Rossy said.

“I was a tough grader,” Rossy said.

Rossy was working on his doctorate at UCLA during that time. He didn’t spend much time on campus outside of teaching courses. At the time, Paddock worked as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service.

Rossy recalled a good reputation for the business school at the university, known as San Fernando Valley State College until June 1972.

“It is shocking to think he was one of my students,” Rossy said. “Goes to show it’s a small world. It’s sort of scary if you think about it.”

Contact Wade Tyler Millward at or 702-383-4602. Follow @wademillward on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Alexander Cohen and Jeff German contributed to this report.

Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Las Vegas judge’s ruling will halt tonight’s execution
On Wednesday Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued a ruling that will halt the execution of convicted murderer Scott Dozier. Alvogen Inc., which makes the sedative midazolam, filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the Nevada Department of Corrections of surreptitiously obtaining the drug for use in an execution.
3 people shot in southeast Las Vegas
Three men were shot Thursday night in southeast Las Vegas, and two of them have life threatening injuries. Las Vegas police responded to the incident just after 10 p.m. on the 5000 block of Mountain Vista Street. The investigation is in its early stages and police were unable to describe the suspect or say how man people they think were involved. Police encourage anyone with information regarding this shooting to call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555, or 3-1-1
Robbery suspects apprehended
Four robbery suspects were taken into custody Thursday morning after a vehicle and foot chase that ended in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. The incident began when a person was robbed at gunpoint around 4:45 a.m. near Maryland Parkway and Desert Inn. Officers arriving at the scene tried to stop two vehicles. One vehicle escaped but police chased the second into a neighborhood on Flamingo Road near Mountain Vista Street. Police surrounded the neighborhood and the suspects were apprehended. It looked like one police vehicle was involved in a collision with the suspects' car. One woman suffered an unknown injury and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. 01:04
Las Vegas police looking for robbery suspects
Two robbers who recently targeted three Las Vegas businesses remained at large Tuesday and police are asking the public to help identify them. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
LVMPD Looking For Robbery Suspect
The LVMPD Commercial Robbery Section is attempting to identify the pictured suspect who is responsible for committing robberies to businesses in the southern part of the Las Vegas Valley during the month of May 2018. The suspect enters the business, threatens the employee with a firearm and demands money from the register. The employee complies and the suspect flees the business.
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead at 2500 block of Ellis St., on Friday, June 8, 2018. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
1 dead in shooting at southwest Las Vegas home
A dispute between roommates led to the fatal shooting of one man in the backyard of their southwest Las Vegas Valley home on Monday, April 23, 2018. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like