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Arms dealer becomes first person charged in connection with Las Vegas mass murder

Douglas Haig (55) is charged with allegedly selling armour-piercing ammunition to Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people during his shooting spree on the Las Vegas strip last October.

Las Vegas Shooting Warrants Douglas Haig, pictured in Arizona yesterday Source: AP/PA Images

AN ARIZONA MAN has been charged with making armour-piercing ammunition without a licence and selling it to the Las Vegas gunman whose October killing spree left 58 concert-goers dead.

64-year-old Stephen Paddock killed himself after the rampage carried out from his hotel suite on Las Vegas’ famed Strip on 1 October – the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history.

Douglas Haig (55) is charged with one count of conspiracy to manufacture and sell armour-piercing ammunition and was released on bail pending a preliminary hearing on 15 February in Phoenix.

He faces the maximum penalty of five years in prison, and possibly a $250,000 (€200,000) fine, if convicted.

Paddock allegedly came to Haig’s home in Mesa, on the outskirts of Phoenix, in September last year to buy ammunition.

Haig had previously operated ‘Specialized Military Ammunition’, an internet business selling armour-piercing bullets, some of them high explosive, according to a statement from US Attorney Dayle Elieson of Nevada.

1 Stephen Paddock Source: Eric Paddock via AP

Records show he had done business in Nevada, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and South Carolina despite having no licence to manufacture armour-piercing ammunition.

Haig told investigators he reloads ammunition but does not offer reloaded cartridges for sale, and none of the rounds recovered in Las Vegas crime scenes would have tool marks consistent with his reloading equipment.

Fingerprints

But Elieson said forensic examiners had recovered reloaded, unfired .308 calibre cartridges in the shooter’s hotel rooms bearing Haig’s fingerprints.

Armour-piercing ammunition recovered inside the shooter’s rooms had tool marks consistent with Haig’s reloading equipment, the statement added.

Police believe Paddock, a wealthy retired accountant and compulsive video poker player who took valium for anxiety, had lost a significant amount of money before his killing spree.

Technicians scouring Paddock’s computer found searches for firearms and elite police response teams, as well as “numerous photos of child pornography”, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said last month.

Paddock had stockpiled an arsenal of firearms in his room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel before he rained fire down on a country music festival where about 22,000 people had gathered.

In addition to the 58 dead, hundreds were wounded. They included 422 people who sustained wounds related to gunfire.

© – AFP, 2018

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