Friend of Vegas shooter says he was 'intelligent, conservative, guarded' -- and devoted to gun rights
Stephen Paddock (

An Australian friend of Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock described the killer as passionately devoted to U.S. gun rights, but otherwise methodical, extremely intelligent and a "strategic" thinker, said The Guardian on Wednesday.

The man -- who asked to remain anonymous -- dated the sister of Paddock's partner Marilou Danley, who has been declared a person of interest in the investigation of Sunday's shooting, which killed 59 people and injured hundreds more.

“Yes, I was familiar with him,” said the man, speaking from his Brisbane home on Wednesday. “He was extremely intelligent, methodical, conservative -- guarded -- and strategic. A planning, thinking type of guy.”

The two men met on a half dozen occasions between 2013 and 2015. Paddock was a high-rolling gambler who lived a lavish lifestyle in the world of casinos, playing poker machines according to an algorithm of his own creation.

Nothing in his conversations and demeanor -- including his deep convictions in favor of gun ownership -- indicated that he would turn violent, said the source.

The Australian said that once at Paddock's residence in Medquite, NV, Paddock made reference to his "gun room."

"His comments were that it’s a substantial hobby that needs to be protected: ‘a gun room,'" he told The Guardian.

Paddock didn't offer to show him the arsenal, however, “nor was I interested -- it was left at that."

He continued, “I could never really imagine that another human being could bring such an inhumane, terrible, vicious act upon any single soul – let alone the many hundreds and literally thousands of people that this horrible situation will impact for many, many years to come.”

Danley returned to the U.S. on Wednesday from the Philippines, where Paddock reportedly sent her a week before the shooting. She has been declared a person of interest in the investigation but is not at this point considered a suspect.