Friend of Las Vegas Shooter Urged Him Not to Harm Innocent People, Letters Reveal
A friend of the Las Vegas shooter urged him not to hurt “people who did nothing to you,” handwritten letters between the two men reveal.
In a recently declassified trove of FBI documents about the shooter, officials referred in a report to 11 letters that were sent via manila envelope to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The letters had been found in a vacant office building in Mesquite, Texas. Redactions in the FBI report obscured who wrote them, but a public records request to the police department by the Las Vegas Review-Journal has revealed they were sent back and forth between the shooter — Stephen Paddock — and a friend.
The friend was Jim Nixon, a Vietnam veteran who served time in prison for tax fraud, according to the Review-Journal. Nine of the ten letters the police released from the records request were sent in the five years leading up to the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting, where the gunman fatally shot 58 people at the Route 91 Harvest festival from a hotel room overlooking the Las Vegas Strip.
Several of the letters hinted at disturbing statements from Paddock and seemed to foreshadow the shooting. In August 2014, Nixon asked Paddock to clarify something he’d said about an upcoming plan. “You said in (3) years you would be ready and that your plan would show up in Nevada, California, Illinois, Texas, New York and other cities,” Nixon wrote. “What do you mean?”
The recently declassified FBI documents revealed more details about the gunman’s life before the deadly shootings. His family had sold some property in Texas in 2012, the reports showed, and he had used his earnings from the sale to buy “dozens of weapons that were ultimately used in the shooting.” In a letter dated March 2, 2017, Nixon commented on his friend’s apparently growing arsenal: “You must going on a hunting trip with all those guns you are stockpiling,” he wrote.
As time went on, he pleaded with his friend not to hurt anyone. “You are a good person and I want you to know that I am concern [sic] about you and your wellbeing,” Nixon wrote on May 27, 2017, four months before the shooting. “I believe you are lying to me and you are going to hurt someone or kill someone. You sound like a real mad man on the phone tonight.”
In that same letter, Nixon offered to help him get treatment. “I can get someone for you who can help you,” Nixon wrote in a letter dated May 27, 2017. “Please don’t go out shooting or hurting people who did nothing to you. I am concern [sic]about the way you are talking and believe you are going to do something very bad. Steve please please don’t do what I think you are going to do.”
“He did what he did and I feel bad I couldn’t have stopped him,” Nixon told the Review-Journal Thursday. “I didn’t know he was going to do what he did.” He also told the outlet that no one from law enforcement ever reached out to him after the shooting.
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