Mesa man named as person of interest in last year’s Las Vegas massacre
PHOENIX — A Mesa man was named as a person of interest in the Oct. 1 massacre in Las Vegas, when a gunman shot and killed nearly 60 people, newly uncovered documents showed.
Douglas Haig was identified in the nearly 300 pages of search warrant records that were unsealed by a judge on Tuesday. He has admitted selling some ammunition to Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old from Nevada, who opened fire on 22,000 concertgoers before killing himself.
“I feel horrible. I’m still wracking my brain for what did I miss, why didn’t I pick this up?” Haig, 55, said on “CBS This Morning” in an interview that aired Wednesday.
“I couldn’t detect anything wrong with this guy,” he said.
Haig’s name appeared in the search warrant that was issued in the days after the shooting near the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino after authorities found his address on a box in Paddock’s hotel room.
Police suspected that Haig and Paddock conspired in the attack. They had met a few weeks before the shooting.
Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, was also named as a person of interest.
Haig was described by Newsweek as a 55-year-old who works for Honeywell as an aerospace engineer and runs a website — Specialized Military Ammunition.
“He told me what he wanted, I handed him a box with the ammunition in it and he paid me and he left,” Haig said of Paddock.
“He said he was going to go put on a light show (with the tracer bullets) and I can’t remember if he said for or with his friends, but that’s what he did say.”
Danley was initially named a person of interest in the investigation, but was no longer considered a suspect. She has continued to cooperate with local and federal investigators.
“I felt that they were hoping they could find a connection between myself and Paddock that would go back showing that I supplied him with most of his ammunition, possibly even some firearms,” Haig said.
“They’re not going to find it. I talked to the guy three times.”
Haig said he planned to hold a news conference this week to answer questions about his name surfacing in the investigation.
Haig’s lawyer, Andrew Marcantel, told Newsweek on Tuesday that the person-of-interest allegation is “an old story” and that his client has been “100 percent compliant.” It is unclear if the ammunition that Haig sold Paddock was used in the deadly massacre.
As of Tuesday, Haig’s website said it would be “closed indefinitely” and for prospective patrons to check back to see “if/when we are up and running.”
It is unclear whether Haig will face any charges in relation to the shooting.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo had said this month that the FBI had an open investigation into an unnamed person of interest, but stressed that Paddock was the only shooter.
The documents showed that early in the investigation, police believed Paddock had help.
“Given the magnitude of the incident, it is reasonable to believe multiple suspects and months of planning were involved in this premeditated massacre,” said one search warrant request submitted to a judge nine days after the shooting.
Paddock fired more than 1,100 bullets from his room and investigators found more than 4,000 rounds of unused ammunition. Detectives also found Tannerite — an explosive — in his car parked at the hotel.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Haig and Paddock might have met at a gun show in Phoenix:
The Associated Press, citing an unidentified law enforcement official, reported in October that Paddock bought 1,000 rounds of tracer ammunition in September from a private seller he met at a Phoenix gun show. The official said investigators searching Paddock’s hotel room found tracer rounds and a document with the name of the Mesa man who sold him the ammunition.
Separately, Clark County District Court Judge Timothy Williams ruled Tuesday that the coroner in Las Vegas should release autopsy records of Paddock and the people killed by gunfire, with victims’ names blacked out.
Those documents were not immediately made public.
County Coroner John Fudenberg later released a statement promising victims’ autopsy reports “as soon as possible.” But Paddock’s autopsy report was not final and would not be released until it is, the coroner said.
Fudenberg maintained the records were confidential, and restricted release to families and to police investigating deaths. The coroner and county attorneys didn’t immediately say whether they would appeal Williams’ ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Margaret McLetchie, an attorney representing the Associated Press and the Las Vegas Review-Journal in the autopsies case, noted in court that Nevada state public records law did not directly address autopsies and that a deceased person had no legal right to privacy.
In Nevada, records are public unless the law says otherwise, she said.
Haig’s name was initially revealed as a court error, after Clark County District Court Judge Elissa Cadish acknowledged that a member of her court staff failed to black out the man’s name on one of the documents released to news organizations, including AP and the Review-Journal.
After the error was recognized, lawyers for the news organizations were told to return the documents. The attorney representing AP and other media did so, but the other lawyer had already transmitted the documents and the Review-Journal published Douglas Haig’s name online.
Cadish later ordered the document not be published without redactions, but she acknowledged she couldn’t order the newspaper to retract the name.
“The reality is, now that it is online, there is nothing I can do,” Cadish said.
A spokeswoman for the FBI in Las Vegas declined to comment and referred calls to the U.S. attorney in Nevada. A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to messages.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.