Marilou Danley, a former “high-limit hostess” at a casino, was initially identified by the Las Vegas Sheriff as a “person of interest” in the mass shooting that took the lives of at least 59 people at a country music concert at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas strip. However, CNN is now reporting that she was out of the country when the shooting occurred.
Danley’s sisters told a CNN affiliate on October 4 that the shooter, Stephen Craig Paddock, sent Danley out of the country before the massacre.
Police said in a news release that at least people were transported to hospitals, and they identified Paddock, 64, as the “lone suspect.” Authorities now say that they do not believe Danley, whom they called Paddock’s roommate previously and who may have been his girlfriend, is connected to the shooting, CNN is reporting. However, the sheriff later said that officials still have questions they hope Danley will answer, but she remains overseas.
Danley’s lawyer gave a statement from her on October 4 that said, “I am devastated by the deaths and injuries that have occurred, and my prayers go out to the victims and their families and all of those who have been hurt by these awful events. I have faith in God, and I will continue to pray for everyone who has been harmed and hurt. I am a mother and a grandmother, and my heart breaks for all who have lost loved ones.
“We are continuing the investigation into that female, but she is currently out of the country,” the sheriff said. Danley is now back in the United States, having landed in Los Angeles on October 2.
According to CNN, the sheriff says that Danley “does not appear to have been involved in the shooting and was in the Philippines when the massacre took place…Paddock had been using some of her identification.” However, police now say she is in Tokyo, and they want her to return to the United States to talk to investigators. Her family is from the Philippines. According to ABC News, sources said Paddock had sent “tens of thousands” of dollars to someone in the Philippines in recent months.
The mother and grandmother, whose now deleted Facebook page was full of photos with family members and trips overseas, was described by police as a 4’11” Asian woman. Police stopped short of calling Danley a suspect in the early morning hours of October 2 when they initially released her name, but they said they wanted to talk to her about the carnage. The shooter opened fire on the crowd at a Route 91 Harvest country music festival near the Mandalay Bay.
Police had advised anyone who saw Danley or her vehicle to call 911.
They later reported they believed they had located her.
The gunman, a divorced, retired accountant with a convicted bank robber father and a penchant for playing poker but no criminal history himself, was down at the scene in the Mandalay Bay hotel, police said, apparently having taken his own life. Paddock was identified as the gunman in the shooting in a press release by authorities. Paddock is from Mesquite, Nevada. His motive is not yet clear, but police have said they don’t think the shooting was an act of terrorism, at least not at this point. The shooter unleashed a spray of bullets at the Route 91 concert crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel at the festival. Officers responded to that hotel room and engaged the suspect.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Marilou Danley Says She Thought Paddock Was a ‘Caring Person’ but Reportedly Described Him Screaming in Bed
In the statement given by her lawyer on October 4, Danley said, “I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man. I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him.” She added, “It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone,” and she said he’d wired her money for a home for her and her family in the Philippines, which worried her that he was breaking up with her, according to CNN.
However, reports NBC News, Danley told investigators “she remembers him exhibiting symptoms such as lying in bed and moaning, according to two former FBI officials who have been briefed on the matter.”
“She said he would lie in bed, just moaning and screaming, ‘Oh, my God,'” the unidentified former official alleged to NBC.
Authorities released Danley’s name at an early morning news conference on October 2, even before they released the name of the suspected shooter. Police said Danley, 62, lived with the shooter in Mesquite. Public records show she lived at the same address as him since January 2017. She has also lived in Sparks and Reno, Nevada, along with Canton, Ohio; Springdale, Arkansas; and Memphis, Tennessee, according to public records.
CBS says this photo – which was on Danley’s Facebook page – is of Paddock. According to Fox News, Paddock “bought more than 30 weapons and had more than a dozen stashed in his hotel room …the deadly cache included converted, fully automatic AR-15 style assault rifles with high capacity magazines, according to a law enforcement source. The weaponry suggests Paddock passed numerous FBI background checks.”
“We have not located her at this time and we are interested in talking to her for followup,” Sheriff Joe Lombardo initially said at a press conference of Marilou Danley, releasing her name. Police were also looking for two vehicles with Nevada plates, a Hyundai Tucson with license plate number 114B40 and a Chrysler Pacifica Touring with plate number 19D401. They are registered to the gunman. Police said Danley was Paddock’s roommate, according to the AP, but they described the mass shooting as a “lone wolf” attack.
After she was located overseas, Sheriff Lombardo still indicated authorities want to talk to her. “We are continuing the investigation into that female,” the sheriff said, when asked how Danley could not have known all of this was occurring inside their home, reported UK Daily Mail. However, he indicated she was out of the country so they haven’t been able to ask those questions. Daily Mail reported that Danley was originally from Australia and was married previously.
Here’s the photo that police released of Danley:
After the sheriff released Danley’s name, scanner traffic indicated that authorities were receiving calls from as far away as California from people who knew her. Although some sites said early on that she was the shooter’s wife, it’s now been revealed that Paddock had been divorced for years, and, although they lived together, Paddock and Danley were not married. The sheriff did confirmed they were boyfriend and girlfriend.
There were reports that a woman had come out and told concertgoers that everyone was going to die right before the shooting, but it was unconfirmed and unclear who the woman was (it couldn’t have been Danley, as she was out of the country); you can listen to that eyewitness account here:
Details were still unfolding as the tragedy remained under investigation.
2. Danley Referred to Herself as a ‘Proud Mom & Grandma’ on Facebook
Marilou Danley’s Facebook profile reads, “Proud mom and grandma who lives life to the fullest.” Her last public post was an update of her profile picture in August. She had posted numerous photos of herself. Friends commented on her looks, and she wrote under one, “Thanks …That was taken at Wiltshire Roof Top Restaurant in L.A.” In 2016, she wrote in the comment thread under a photo, “…Kuha Sa Jumeira Beach, Dubai.” She also wrote under that photo, “That’s a beautiful City except it’s hot. Will be back there next year to visit my niece.”
She had attended a concert at Mandalay Bay in the past.
Her posts were fairly typical, at least the public ones, describing a fun-loving life. For example, she wrote on one comment thread on her page, “Hi! my dear friend.Thanks for the cruise info. I’m still checking a good deal. Like all the places you’re going. Would love to join you. Take care and say Hi!” Told in 2016 that she looked good at age 61 in one photo, she responded, “Awww! How sweet!!! Thanks sis!!! It’s in our genes!!! We look young & aged gracefully! Plus a trip to the gym, zumba and my daily beauty regiments!!! Love you!”
A friend wrote on another photo of Danley, “Sexy Grandma! You are timelessly beautiful! Always young looking! Love & miss you so very much! Merry Christmas to you & yours!”
Earlier scanner traffic indicated that police may have gotten Danley’s name, at least in part, from a credit/debit card left in the Mandalay Bay hotel room by Paddock.
The horrific sequence of events unfolded when the active shooter unleashed rapid gunfire at the country music concert near the popular Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas strip, sending panicked crowds fleeing throughout the area. Jason Aldean was playing but wasn’t injured.
Las Vegas police confirmed on Twitter early on, “We’re investigating reports of an active shooter near/around Mandalay Bay Casino. Asking everyone to please avoid the area. #LVMPDnews.” The scope of the massacre continued to emerge in the early morning hours after the first shooting reports.
3. Danley Described Herself as a Former High-Limit Casino Hostess
On LinkedIn, Danley described herself as “Gambling & Casinos Professional, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Reno, Nevada.” The page described her as a high-limit hostess at Club Paradise at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa from 2010 to 2013. No later employment is listed.
Despite widespread reports that there were possibly multiple shooters, police said later, though, that they think there was just one gunman, writing, “At this time we do not believe there are any more shooters. More information to come shortly from @Sheriff_LVMPD.” However, the night was extremely frightening and chaotic.
According to the Associated Press, “A Nevada sheriff says one on-duty officer is in critical condition and another was wounded in the Las Vegas concert shooting… Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo says two off-duty officers have died.”
Frantic police dispatch audio throughout the morning contained reports of possible multiple suspects, casualty “collection points,” crowds running in panic, shootings at other Vegas hotels, 1,000 people holed up at a Michael Jackson venue, people taking shelter in buses at a fairground, and reports of explosives.
4. Danley’s Former Step Daughters Have Defended Her Character & Her Sisters Say the Killer Sent Her Out of the Country
After leaving Australia for the U.S. years ago, Danley was married and then divorced from an Arkansas man. His children are now defending her.
“Marilou is our ex step-mom. She is a good and gentle person and I know she has to be devastated by what has happened,’ Dionne Waltrip, one of her former step-daughters, told 5 News.
“We know nothing of this relationship ever. We have never heard of this man ever in our lives. She is kind. She’s very gentle. She’s very giving, she’s always happy. She’s just extremely nice and fun to be around,” she said to the television station.
“She’s not harmful. She’s not a bad person at all,” Deirdre Terrell, her other former step-daughter said to 5 News.
Her nephew, Jordan Knights, said he’d recently visited with Danley and Paddock and said, “It seemed like he just looked after my aunty and that was it.” He said he didn’t know about all of the guns Paddock had purchased.
Marilou Danley’s sister told CNN affiliate 7 News, “I know that she don’t know anything as well like us. She was sent away. She was away so that she will be not there to interfere with what he’s planning.” She added that Danley “didn’t even know that she was going to the Philippines, until Steve said, ‘Marilou, I found you a cheap ticket to the Philippines,'” CNN reported.
The video above shows the moment gunshots rang out at the Route 91 concert. One man wrote with the video, “Video courtesy of Drew Akioshi. He was attending the concert at mandalay bay when shooting started.”
The video captures the sound of the staccato gunshots ringing out (the amount of them led many eyewitnesses to believe there was more than one shooter). People seem shocked at first, and then a woman shouts at others to get down.
Other videos – and graphic photos – showed people bleeding on the ground and rushing away from the scene.
5. Starbucks Workers Recalled That Paddock Would Often ‘Berate’ Marilou Danley
Stephen Paddock “had a nasty habit of berating Danley in public,” Starbucks workers told The Los Angeles Times.
“It happened a lot,” Esperanza Mendoza, supervisor of the Starbucks, told the newspaper.
“The abuse would come when she asked to use his casino card to make the purchase. The card enables gamblers to use credits earned on electronic gambling machines to pay for souvenirs or food in the casino,” said The Times, quoting Mendoza as saying, “He would glare down at her and say—with a mean attitude—‘You don’t need my casino card for this. I’m paying for your drink, just like I’m paying for you.’ Then she would softly say, ‘OK’ and step back behind him. He was so rude to her in front of us.”
The casualty count grew as the hours passed in the early morning of October 2. The sheriff said that at least 59 people had died and 527 were injured in what was easily one of the worst mass shooting attacks on American soil, although the shooter’s motive remains unclear.
Earlier accounts had said that at least two were dead and 24 injured, 14 of them critically, according to The Los Angeles Times. Unconfirmed reports put the casualty count as much higher; the situation remained fluid and chaotic in the early morning hours of October 2.
Bakersfield police said that one of their officers was among those injured as he was working off-duty security at the concert where the shooting unfolded. Although victims were not formally identified by authorities to the public, family members were starting to name them. You can read about the victims of the mass shooting here: