The gunman responsible for the deadliest massacre in modern U.S. history spent some of his childhood in Tucson and was the son of a man arrested more than 50 years earlier in Las Vegas for robbing a bank in Phoenix.
Stephen Paddock, who police say fired at concertgoers Sunday night from a 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas Strip, lived with his three siblings in a ranch-style home in Tucson in the late 1950s, according to stories from the The Arizona Republic archives.
His father, Benjamin Paddock, was accused of robbing a Phoenix bank in 1960 and was captured in Las Vegas after fleeing Arizona. He later escaped prison and landed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
Stephen Paddock, who was 64, would have been around 6 or 7 years old when he lived in Tucson, though it’s not clear for how long. The family lived in a neighborhood about five miles from central Tucson, on the west end of Interstate 10.
The newspaper stories don’t center around Stephen Paddock, but his father, Benjamin, who spent some time on the FBI’s Most Wanted list after escaping from a federal prison in Texas.
The FBI said Benjamin Paddock, who had the nickname “Chrome Dome” because of his shaved head, was a diagnosed psychopath and was to be considered “extremely dangerous.” The FBI said Paddock was an avid gambler.
Benjamin Paddock, who was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, seemed to be starting his life over in Tucson. The clippings say he had served two prison terms in Illinois before he moved to Tucson and operated a garbage disposal and dishwasher business called Arizona Disposer Co.
While living in Tucson, Benjamin Paddock volunteered with the Pima County juvenile probation department, according to news stories. He was named a special deputy in 1959, according to the clippings, assigned to handle cases of wayward youths.
The Pima County Sheriff at the time, Waldon Burr, was quoted as saying Benjamin Paddock “bulged with sincerity.”
But in 1960, Paddock was accused of robbing a bank in east Phoenix. The branch had been robbed four other times over the past two years. Police said the pattern of the July 1960 robbery was very similar to the previous one nine months before. Benjamin Paddock would eventually be charged with two robberies at another branch.
The manager of the Valley National Bank robbed in 1960 followed the getaway vehicle and saw a man later identified as Benjamin Paddock get into a 1960 Pontiac with distinctive aerials.
Authorities determined it was owned by a ham radio operator and cross checked holders of such licenses for their autos.
They narrowed it down to two men who owned brand-new Pontiacs. Bank employees identified Benjamin Paddock as the culprit, according to the news clippings.
Two days after the robbery, FBI agents had their man. They determined Benjamin Paddock had gone to Las Vegas and tracked him to a gas station there.
Paddock attempted to run one agent down, according to a Republic story, but another agent fired a bullet through his windshield and Paddock surrendered.
He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. On Dec. 31, 1968, he escaped from the facility in La Tuna, Texas. That landed him on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
Paddock was tracked down in Oregon in 1978 where had been living under an assumed name. But FBI agents said his cover was blown when he received a splash of media attention for opening the first legal bingo parlor in that state.
The story about his September 1978 arrest does not mention his children.
Eric Paddock, a brother to Stephen Paddock, said the family had been estranged from their father.
He said Benjamin Paddock has since died.
Tess Sheets of Florida Today contributed to this article.
The 1969 article from The Arizona Republic
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