Father Of Vegas Shooting Suspect Was Bank Robber Who Made FBI's Most Wanted List
As authorities continue to learn more about Stephen Paddock, the suspected gunman who killed at least 58 people in a Las Vegas mass shooting on Sunday, one bit of detail has emerged about his history.
As confirmed at NBC News, Paddock’s father—Patrick Benjamin Paddock, who also went by the alias Benjamin Hoskins Paddock— was once on the FBI’s Most Wanted list after robbing a series of banks in Phoenix, getting arrested, and escaping a Texas prison. The news was first reported by NBC’s Peter Alexander:
NEW: Shooter's brother says their father was Patrick Benjamin Paddock, a bank robber who he says was on FBI Most Wanted list. @tracyconnor— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) October 2, 2017
As reported at NY Daily News, Patrick Benjamin Paddock was arrested in his 30s after he’d robbed a Valley National Bank in Phoenix in 1960. He was also later accused of robbing two other banks in the area, but the charges were dropped after he was convicted for the first crime. An archived clip of the Arizona Republic says that he’d stolen $4,600 in his first robbery, and a total of $20,000 in the two ensuing robberies. He was said to be living in Tucson with his wife and four children at the time of the crimes.
According to Newsweek, the arrest happened in Las Vegas in 1960. Patrick was then convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. On Christmas Eve of 1968 he escaped from a Texas prison, and six months later he robbed a San Francisco bank.
Patrick then landed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, with one of the notices (tweeted above) describing him as “psychopathic,” having “suicidal tendencies," and "considered armed and very dangerous.”
Patrick was later re-captured in Oregon in 1978, according to an archived clip of the Eugene Register-Guard. He was apparently working as a bingo parlor manager at the time of his arrest, and was living in the area under the alias Bruce Werner Ericksen. It’s not clear what happened to him after the arrest, but records indicate that he died in 1998.
Stephen’s brother Bruce told NBC News that, while their father had a history of breaking the law, he knew of Stephen as being “law abiding,” adding that he was “not mentally deranged” and “quite smart.”
"He never got into fights. He never did anything violent. He's kinda laid-back, never in a hurry,” said Bruce. "I don't know how he could stoop to this low point, hurting someone else.”