Mesa man who sold ammo to Las Vegas shooter criminally charged
PHOENIX — A Mesa, Arizona man was charged with one federal crime on Friday after he sold ammunition to another man who opened fire on a concert on the Las Vegas strip.
Douglas Haig, a 55-year-old aerospace engineer who sold ammunition as a hobby for about 25 years, was charged with conspiracy to manufacture and sell illegal armor-piercing rounds after a box with his name and address were found in shooter Stephen Paddock’s hotel room.
The box had unfired armor-piercing ammunition inside that allegedly had Haig’s fingerprints on it.
The complaint filed Friday in federal court in Phoenix said Haig didn’t have a license to manufacture armor-piercing ammunition.
Haig allegedly sold both armor-piercing and tracer rounds to Paddock in the weeks leading up to the Oct. 1 shooting that left 58 dead and hundreds more injured.
Haig met Paddock at a Las Vegas gun show. Documents said Paddock was attempting to purchase a large quantity of tracer rounds but Haig told him he did not have that on hand.
Tracer bullets contain a pyrotechnic charge that illuminates the path of fired bullets so shooters can see whether their aim is correct.
The pair exchanged phone numbers and met days later at Haig’s Mesa home, where allegedly sold Paddock the ammunition.
Haig’s website also allegedly listed armor-piercing ammunition for sale. That information was removed after the shooting.
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 prior to the charges being filed. Haig’s identity originally emerged by mistake after his name was not redacted in court documents.
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 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.”
Haig appeared in front of U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Michelle H. Burns Friday afternoon and was released on bond with a preliminary hearing set for Feb. 15 in Phoenix.
If convicted, Haig faces a maximum five-year prison sentence, up to $250,000 in fines, or both.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.