A judge on Tuesday unsealed nearly 300 pages of search warrant records, including one document that publicly identified for the first time an additional “person of interest” in the Oct. 1 massacre on the Las Vegas Strip.
“Until the investigation can rule otherwise, Marilou Danley and Douglas Haig have become persons of interest who may have conspired with Stephen Paddock to commit Murder with a Deadly Weapon,” according to the Metropolitan Police Department document, which was prepared in October.
Haig, whose name previously had not been released, spoke to reporters Tuesday evening outside his home in Mesa, Arizona, and confirmed that he has been contacted by investigators.
“I’m the guy that sold ammunition to Stephen Paddock,” Haig said.
He said he met once with Paddock, the gunman behind the mass shooting, but did not know him. He declined to answer additional questions.
Four Mesa police cars later responded to Haig’s home, which sits in a quiet neighborhood. Haig came outside to talk to the officers, who then told remaining reporters he did not want them on the property. A sign on the front door said Haig would hold a news conference Friday.
Danley was Paddock’s girlfriend and initially was named as a person of interest in the investigation. Authorities later said they do not expect her to face charges.
A LinkedIn account for Haig says he works as a senior engineer for Honeywell Aerospace, an aircraft engines and avionics manufacturer in Phoenix, as well as for a company called Specialized Military Ammunition that claims to be the “source for premium, MILSPEC, tracer and incendiary ammunition in popular military calibers,” according to the company’s website.
The website also indicates that the ammunition business has been shuttered.
“We Will Be Closed Indefinitely. Check back to see if/when we are up and running again,” according to an undated text box on the website.
Steve Brecken, spokesman for Honeywell Aerospace, confirmed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday that Haig works for the company.
Haig was registered as a vendor at a September gun show in Phoenix, a representative for the show said.
In the month before the shooting, Paddock sporadically traveled between Las Vegas, Mesquite, Reno and Arizona, according to a police report released earlier this month. Paddock had homes in Mesquite and Reno.
When contacted Tuesday about the newly released name, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said only, “If you’ve got it, publish it.” He said he could not comment on a federal case.
An FBI spokeswoman and a spokeswoman with the U.S. attorney’s office in Las Vegas declined to comment.
‘There was one shooter’
During a Jan. 19 update on the shooting investigation, Lombardo noted that the FBI had an open investigation into an unnamed person of interest, though he repeatedly said Paddock was the only shooter.
Lombardo also said he did not anticipate Danley facing any criminal charges.
“I know and believe there was only one suspect who killed 58 people and injured hundreds more,” Lombardo said. “All the evidence recovered in this case supports that theory. There was one shooter in the 1 October massacre. There was only one person responsible, and that was Stephen Paddock.”
Authorities in Las Vegas have said that while Paddock acted alone in shooting the victims before killing himself in his Mandalay Bay suite, possible criminal charges are still being investigated.
Paddock’s brother Eric Paddock said he does not know Haig.
“I never heard of the guy,” said the brother, who lives in Orlando, Florida.
The Review-Journal, along with other media outlets, sought the ruling from District Judge Elissa Cadish, who on Tuesday unsealed records related to the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting.
“The court correctly recognized the presumption of public access to records, even when a mass tragedy occurs,” Review-Journal attorney Maggie McLetchie said.
Tuesday afternoon, about five hours after the first copy of documents was supplied to the Review-Journal, Cadish called a hearing to address what she referred to as an “oversight” in releasing Haig’s identity. However, she did not use Haig’s name in her comments to lawyers for the Review-Journal, other media outlets and Metro.
In her original order issued Tuesday morning, Cadish unsealed documents with the understanding that, among “minimal redactions,” Haig’s name would be blacked out.
“In this case, Stephen Paddock has been determined by law enforcement authorities to be the lone shooter and the only one involved in the planning of the shooting, and he shot himself in connection with the October 1 events,” Cadish wrote. “However, there is an ongoing investigation regarding possible charges against another individual arising out of information obtained in connection with the October 1 shooting, but not directly related to the shooting itself. Thus, the Court must be cautious not to reveal documents which would interfere with that investigation and possible charges, as well as avoid threatening the privacy interests and safety of an individual mentioned in the sealed documents.”
McLetchie picked up the first copy of the documents from Cadish’s office at about 9:15 a.m., about 40 minutes before the judge’s staff realized that Haig’s name had not been redacted, the judge said.
“We acted as quickly as we could once it came to our attention and attempted to retrieve it,” Cadish said.
Metro lawyer Nick Crosby said police intended to conceal Haig’s identity.
“I want on the record that this is specifically some of the information that we sought to keep sealed and not disclose,” Crosby said.
Questions about gunman’s death
One of the records unsealed Tuesday also detailed a new version of the events surrounding Paddock’s death.
Metro has said in news conferences and in a report released Jan. 19 that officers who breached the room at Mandalay Bay found Paddock already dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
But a document that details a telephonic search warrant request from 3:02 a.m. on Oct. 2 said that “as SWAT officers breached room 135, they observed Stephen Paddock place a gun to his head and fire one round.”
When asked about the discrepancy between the two versions of events, Metro spokesman Larry Hadfield gave the following statement:
“During the early stages of the investigation, search warrants were completed with the known facts at the time. A search warrant is requested and information provided is preliminary and establishes the probable cause and reason to search the premise. The preliminary report released on January 19 is a more complete picture of the investigation as we know it now. As the investigation unfolds, we will have more accurate information available at a later date.”
When reached for further comment late Tuesday, Lombardo said he had not read the newly released document and could not comment on it.
Lombardo referred requests about the document to Sgt. Jerry MacDonald, who is expected to provide further comment Wednesday.
MacDonald, who requested the telephonic search warrant, also helped author Metro’s preliminary report on the shooting investigation.
Contact David Ferrara at email@example.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter. Contact Colton Lochhead at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4638. Follow @coltonlochhead on Twitter. Contact Blake Apgar at email@example.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Jeff German and Jamie Munks and correspondent Madison Miller contributed to this report.
The mystery of the fake flowers
The documents unsealed Tuesday show that Las Vegas police have been scouring over even the smallest pieces of evidence from the Oct. 1 mass shooting on the Strip.
On Oct. 31, police requested a search warrant to seize a black vase full of fake flowers that were inside gunman Stephen Paddock’s 32nd floor suite at Mandalay Bay.
The vase and flowers were not part of the standard Mandalay Bay room decor, according to the warrant. Police believed Paddock had purchased the items from Walmart four days before the shooting and brought them to the room.
It is not clear what the flowers mean, but the items are another puzzle piece for police to examine as they trace Paddock’s footsteps in the days leading up to the shooting.