Ammo dealer says Las Vegas gunman raised no suspicions
CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona man who sold ammunition to the gunman who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history said Friday that his one-time customer was well-dressed, polite and didn’t raise suspicions that he was planning any crimes.
Douglas Haig, a 55-year-old aerospace engineer who sold ammunition as a hobby for about 25 years, said he met Stephen Paddock at a Phoenix gun show in the weeks before the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more.
He didn’t have the quantity of tracer ammunition on hand that Paddock was seeking, so Paddock contacted him a few days later and lined up a sale at Haig’s home in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa. Tracer bullets contain a pyrotechnic charge that illuminates the path of fired bullets so shooters can see whether their aim is correct.
Haig said he was shocked and sickened when a federal agent informed him of the massacre 11 hours after it unfolded. It’s unknown whether the ammunition he sold to Paddock was used in the attack.
“I had no contribution to what Paddock did,” Haig said, adding that there was nothing unusual about the type or quantity of ammunition Paddock bought. “I had no way to see into his mind.”
Haig held a news conference Friday in what his lawyer said was a bid to protect his reputation after he was revealed earlier this week to be a “person of interest” in the investigation. Haig’s identity emerged by mistake after his name was not redacted in court documents.
But a law enforcement official has since told The Associated Press that investigators don’t believe Haig committed a federal crime or had any involvement or knowledge of the planned attack when he sold ammunition to Paddock. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Haig arose in the investigation when a box with his name and address was found in the Mandalay Bay hotel suite where Paddock launched the attack on a music festival below.
He gave the box to Paddock to carry the 720 rounds of tracer ammunition from the sale.
Haig said Paddock told him that “he was going to go out to the desert to put on a light show, either with or for his friends. I can’t remember whether he used the word ‘with’ or ‘for.’ But he said that he was going out at night to shoot it with friends.”
He said he has received unwanted media attention and death threats since his name was released. Still, Haig, who has closed his ammunition business, said he doesn’t expect to take any legal action as a result of his name being publicly revealed.
Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.